Cockleburs and questions. The cockleburs were in my socks. The questions, but no good answers, were in the camera.
Still stunned from my daddy long-legs revelations, I hiked several of the unpaved trails at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, and eventually found the Open Field Trail. Improved signs name the trails at intersections, but maps are not posted. Still the park is a gem of Plano, and is well-used.
The Open Field Trail was a glory of gaillardia and Queen Anne's lace. Flitting around, then disappearing, black butterflies teased with solos and duets. What were they? They were completely new to me, and there were so many! Flashes of yellow on the upper wings showed as they flitted. Light points on the under forewings and many eyespots... I was getting crazed. Maybe it was "heat prostration", one of those dreaded and delightful calamities learned in childhood like "quicksand", "frostbite", "sleeping sickness", "merthiolate", and "ringworm".
The black butterflies were totally uncooperative whether I stood still or tracked my quarry. They did not land and spread their wings for a photo shoot. They just disappeared into the grass. I followed, wading out into the vegetation, vaguely worried about snakes. Should have worried about the burs!
Would the young couple coming down the trail think I was a deranged old lady dancing around in the hot sun with a camera? OR would I wonder if they were nuts taking a shortcut with their pure white Great Pyrenees dog bigger than a polar bear right through the grasses? Holy iceberg, Batman! That dog's fur was going to be full of burs. Oh, right. So were my socks.
Eyespots. On the forewings? On the forehead? This is not your daddy's buckeye. This is more like the guy with the tattooed third eye at Freebirds in Austin.
How to stay focused on the butterfly mystery until I could download my photos and hit the field guides? OM. OMG. Wandered through Walmart waiting for my prescriptions, being one with the cat litter and stacking plastic storage containers. Feeding Dad ground chicken, potato salad, and spice cake at the nursing home. How do nuns serve in the earthly realm and hold the spiritual in their consciousness? Not that I'm holy, but I've been in the moment on the Open Field Trail. How do I hold both the wonder of the butterfly and the caring feeding of my shriveling, drooling father while his tv blares "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?"
The common wood nymph flies erratically. It does not stop for photo ops. It is one with the open field, staying clear of the trail, unaffected by the burs.
Be Here Now
Common Wood Nymph
© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder