The other morning, when I went out to feed my critters, I saw a swallowtail butterfly hanging upside down from a spider web in the garage. In case you've forgotten what a swallowtail
looks like, here's a picture I took recently of a male swallowtail on my butterfly bush:
Anyhow, I figured the butterfly was a goner because the spider had already wrapped the end of its "tails." But, I thought saw a slight flutter. Maybe . . .
What the heck! I plucked it from the spider web and pulled away some of the web strands. The butterfly moved, but it still wasn't quite free. I let it sit on my shirt while I took off the last bits of web. With the butterfly still riding on my shirt, I stepped out on the deck.
The butterfly took off, and I lost sight of it as it flew away above the pin-oak.
Perhaps there's a lesson here: Don't give up. No matter how bad things look, there's hope. When evil tries to drag you down, a friend might give you a hand. Something like that. Perhaps the butterfly is a metaphor for hope. Whatever. I was glad to save this one swallowtail and to see it fly away, though.
In my yard, there seems to be a swallowtail population explosion. I've counted over a dozen on my coneflowers in front and more than that on my butterfly bush out back. But for the multitude of swallowtails I've seen lately, I haven't seen any monarch butterflies. Not one. And I even grow some milkweed for them in my back flowerbed.
I know why the monarchs aren't around. See the dead grass across the road in the pictures above and below? That's where VDOT sprayed the right-of-way a few days ago. And the corn—that's GMO corn, the pollen from which is toxic to Monarch butterflies
. They can't fly away from this evil.
How can one little modification—Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis—
in the corn bring down a whole species? What species will be next to go? Is the monarch perhaps a metaphor for us?
Labels: butterflies, GMOs, rural life