Monday, 8 March 2010

Fly far, fly into Spring

On Friday afternoon (5 March), I thought the hibernating male Peacock butterfly, that other little life form in my study, had fluttered his final flutter. He stood still, wings up and closed, with no sign of movement or life. Gently, very gently, I dabbed his wings with the rubber end of a pencil. No movement, no trace, still as still can be. 

I felt a right berk. I hadn't rescued him from the biting early February wind, frost and snow to cause him to lamely die indoors. I felt I'd deprived him of Nature's glory and Nature of his glory.

To my relief, it turned out, he's a tough little guy. Moments later, he yawned open his wings (below), revealing those sumptuous markings. He raised my spirits further by clambering onto a paper towel soaked with a mix of lukewarm water and diluted Demerara sugar and honey. Unfurling his proboscis feeding tube, he began sucking up the mixture voraciously.

Still worried, I sought wiser advice and decided the best plan was to give him a halfway house option, to offer him shelter but with an open portal if he felt inclined to chance his luck.

Later, encouraged by flaring March sunshine, he sunbathed on an exposed warm brick wall, absorbing the energy like a Formula 1 racing car re-fuelling in the pits. Looking at him upside down, I noticed how the circles on his hind wings look like menacing eyes and how his body might look like a beak to a bird or a mouse. A great design for scaring off predators.

Watched curiously by next door's moggy (below), the Peacock (top photo) suddenly fluttered off the wall, circled quickly around me, and flew energetically into an azure blue sky and out of view, out of my life, into Spring. 

I'd enjoyed his company, had learnt a little about his world and it'd dawned on me that, in some ways, his plight was a bit of a metaphor for my own life. 

Fly far, little guy, fly strong.

Thanks to Peter Eeles for information and Amrit ;-) for sound advice.

Paul Coleman, London, March 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lovely inspiring article. Well done. And you're welcome ;-) A