I settled in to watch like I used to do when I went fishing. I used to sit for hours then, focused on my bobber and fingering the tension on my line. The bites or strikes were signs that I had understood something of the river’s mystery and its creatures.
It had been a disappointing year for finding butterflies, and I had worried off and on about climate change and the disasterous Anthopocine. Throughout June and July, only cabbage whites and an occasional azure had visited the flowers. Now I hoped to see one of the larger, brighter – and far less common - butterflies of late summer. I cast out my virtual line.
The garden, maybe a hundred feet long and twenty wide, full of flowers, was like a fishing hole that held secrets. Unless I watched and waited, I would not discover what elusive inhabitants might take the pollen lure.
After half an hour, one cabbage white butterfly.
Another half an hour, and another went by….. and then I saw them low, about two feet above ground, fluttering erratically up and around the bright drifts of zinnias and stalks of fragrant milkweed, rising then diving, disappearing then showing themselves to me.
My butterfly bobber went down. My fears about the fate of the Earth went down with it
What was there? Was it really….a monarch….and two, even in these End Times?
I stood up and approached the garden to better see. Yes it was! One monarch, then two!
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I'll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of late summer. In the meantime, watch for monarchs while you can.