Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fly Away

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 thuringiensisin the corn bring down a whole species? What species will be next to go? Is the monarch perhaps a metaphor for us? 

Who will escape the evil done by GMO crops? We can't just fly away?


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Blogger CountryDew said...

This is a lovely - yet terrifying - post. Thank you for writing it.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

So that's what those yellow butterflies are--swallowtails. They're all over the place here too. But no monarchs. Now I know why. Corn fields are also next door just like you have. People don't seem to care about the GMOs. They can't see it. I post stuff on my FB about it and am lucky if I get one or two comments from the chicks I'm friendly with who are into health food and hippie stuff, if you know what I mean. But that's it. I even had a big argument with my friend in Iowa who farms for a living. The Monsanto people did a big presentation for them and talked them into the GMOs. She thinks they're safer than food grown from seeds that are not genetically modified. I'm getting scared.

Then again, like you said, when it seems there's no hope...

11:32 PM  

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