Thanksgiving with Dad and butterflies

Snout butterfly on White Mistflower. Heard Sanctuary.
There coulda been a rumble on the crowded white mistflower today, but the skippers were too hippy dippy blissed-out to battle the snouts for turf.  All kinds of snouts, skippers, painted ladies, queens, assorted bees, and flashy-dresser webworm moths were imbibing, snorting, and pollinating with scandalous abandon. I haven't seen such a traffic jam since the wheelchair gridlock at the nursing home.

Been thinking of my dad, Howie, as we approach a first Thanksgiving without him.  For several Thanksgivings he was way, way out there, completely unfiltered, and uninhibited in his speech, and unable to control mucus secretions while eating. Dad in his holiday attire of terry bib, plaid flannel pjs and Depends ramming his wheelchair into the wall over and over took much of the enjoyment from the holiday meal.

Just in the last couple weeks I've been able to replace some visual memories of Howie in his protracted, degrading decline with better memories and visual associations.

Watching the common checkered skipper and the checkerspot butterfly sucking down smoothies while wearing their plaid jammies, I got a momentary flash of peace about Howie and my seasons as his "responsible party".
Common checkered skipper.

Party snouts.

Queen butterfly.

Ballerina spider.

Ailanthus webworm moth.
Catching butterflies was a family hobby Dad encouraged.  It probably started as a way for me to earn a Camp Fire bead.  Dad bought one net, then immediately made several others.  Our backyard was a good starting point, but Dad was happy to take us places where we could run around, up and down hills, waving nets, getting worn out, and occasionally catching butterflies. My perfectionist mother mastered the mounting of specimens. We studied field guides to identify our catches.

Now I just catch butterflies with my camera, but I still get exercise and fresh air. I get out the field guide to identify my sightings for Dad.

The flashy dressing webworm moth looks like a skinny beetle, since it rolls its wings around it.  I never did get a photo of one in flight. These are diurnal and good pollinators, not the evil fall webworms Dad used to cuss.

The very fragrant White Mistflower causing all the ruckus is a Texas native.  Ageratina havanensis is tolerant of drought and rocky soil. It blooms from mid-October until very cold weather

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Kim said...

Beautiful! The flower, the critters, your prose, all of it!

Collagemama said...

Thanks, Kim.


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