As I'm heading up the 4 mile climb, I hear an intermittent rustling that seems to be behind me. One thing I cannot stand are rattles, mysterious sounds and "funny" noises in or from my vehicle/s. Both my car and my van are at least ten years old, but there are no unidentifiable noises. This was new. After a bit, it ceased and by the time I made a stop for gas, I'd forgotten about it.
Several miles later, I pulled into the client's driveway, unloaded my materials and went to work. When I came out to stow my gear for the ride home, I was surprised to see a butterfly fluttering in my window. And then I knew what that sound had been. Apparently the butterfly had somehow gotten into my car and been dormant due to the cold. The warmth of that particular day had aroused it, and I guess it figured Spring was here. Not so, little one. In fact that night the temperature was set to drop dramatically. I planned to find my little friend a place to shelter until the real Spring came along.
But when I arrived home, I couldn't find the little fellow. I wasn't sure if it had escaped or just crawled into a hiding place of its own, but after searching for some time, I gave it up.
After nearly a week of bitter cold and paralyzing (ha ha) 2 inches of snow. I happened to open the rear door of my car and, sadly, my little butterfly friend fell out onto the ground. Thinking it was dead, I placed it gently back in the car so as to examine it later at home.
That was two days ago while it was cold. Yesterday it warmed up a bit, and today it was in the glorious 60's. I opened my car door and what do you think? The magical little butterfly was sunning itself on the car seat, fanning its wings. Not dead. Hibernating.
|Here's my little friend. I thought it was a Swallowtail, but no - according to my beautifully illustrated Walter Linsenmaier Insects of the World, it is a rare Javanese brush-footed butterfly. How cool is that? My good friend Roy identified this fellow as a Mourning Cloak, and he is correct. Seems my book had applied two species names to the same butterfly. Pretty fellow, nonetheless. He seemed to like the warmth of my hand.|