SONGS OF NATURE
A Day Like No Other Beneath Cerulean Skies
Hmmm, how often in a lifetime do such days of glory come along?
It was one of those rare, picture-perfect summer days. A cerulean sky arched from horizon to horizon with barely a wisp of clouds. The temperature topped out in the mid 70’s with just the intimation of a breeze tickling the leaves.
Time was not the race against an invisible foe that it so often becomes. All of creation seemed to push the pause button and breathe deep with utter contentment. Tomorrow and the troubles it might bring seemed too far off to contemplate.
I had chosen to visit one of my favourite summer haunts for the winged creatures that I so love to pursue. Fifteen minutes down the trail a gaudy Red-spotted Purple butterfly posed with uncharacteristic patience on a delicate white flower.(Whoever thought to name it “red-spotted” was either colour blind or mischievous, for the spots are clearly orange!)
I found my secret side trail that less attentive hikers pass by unnoticed. Do they have any notion of the little slice of heaven that lies beyond twenty feet of bushes and thigh-high grass? It does not disappoint today. Tiny skippers (think butterflies the size of your thumbnail) frolic in the meadow as thread-thin pond damselflies cling to single blades of grass.
Back on the main trail, I reach the bridge and descend to the river valley. Last year, at this same time in this same place, a Baltimore Checkerspot – ink black with cream spots and orange checkered wing edges – appeared much to my delight. But today there are at least four of them fluttering about in the damp meadow. Only on such a day as this, could it be so.
ater, I traverse the loop trail that winds and coils around two small, weedy lakes. An Emerald dragonfly greets me and traces loops along the shoreline at head height. It hovers now and then within arms’ grasp as if to say: “And who might you be? Friend or foe?”
The trail bends right around the shallow elbow of the lake. And here, once again in echo of a year ago this week, the first regal Monarch of the season floats by in search of the Milkweed plant on which it will lay its eggs. The next generation, that will make the arduous trek to the mountainsides of Mexico, is about to be conceived.
I bear left now as the trail arches around the back side of the elbow. Carefully make my way down to the edge of the lake. I know that Clubtail dragonflies like this spot. Nothing about this day disappoints. A Lilypad Clubtail with its distinctive gold claspers is perched on a lily pad regarding, with what seems to be amusement, tiny bluet damselflies darting hither and nigh.
At this point, the day has delivered all I could ask for. Any other winged beauty that crosses my path will be a bonus. But the best is yet to come.
On the far side of the lake, where the path ambles through willows between the lake and a stream, a nickel-sized butterfly catches my eye perching on a long, curved leaf that cradles it like an infant. Pearl gray with a fine spot band. A Hairstreak! Uncommon and always a delight.
I note the field marks. The orange crescent band on the wing tip is the key. I consult my field guide. The verdict: Acadian Hairstreak! Another lifer and the perfect end to an idyllic day which truly seems heaven sent.
Such days as this are metaphors for what life was meant to be at the dawn of creation. They are rare, precious and to be prized. A gift like no other. I shall commit this day to memory to take refuge in when the troubles of days yet unseen come haunting.
~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel” – double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.comor the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.
~ Subscribe to “Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm” at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the “Subscribe to this Blog: How To” instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.