Back to Nature (Published on - Sept. 23, 2005)
The dust of a butterfly’s wings
Photo by Karen Mitchell Tremmel
A large Eastern Tiger Swallowtail floats on a gentle breeze, likely in search of a mate.
I’ve watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! – not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again! ...
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

It seems a magical place, this garden that is tended with loving hands by the Cherokee Grandmother and Elder that calls it home. Clay and ceramic beings peek out from under overgrown foliage.

Birds clamor about a multitude of various feeders strung from trees and posts. An overturned canoe points toward the lake and a sea of cattails. A moderate rose garden is graced by a stone angel and two cats basking in the sun.

One of the manmade ponds is now home to an abandoned red eared slider turtle, an old man that wondered into my own garden recently. Another pond is covered with screen protecting fat bright orange goldfish with a bench nearby to watch tadpoles and dragonflies. This natural world radiates from the Native American Indian prayer circle that faces the lake and is the center of this land.

I walked the paths one early morning as the sun painted everything with glittering gold. A large Eastern tiger swallowtail floated by, most likely in search for his mate. He allowed my presence for quite some time as we shared the warmth of the sun and the sacred peacefulness of this special garden.

The male Eastern tiger swallowtail is yellow with black tiger-stripes across his wings and black borders spotted with yellow. The female has two forms or colors: One yellow like the male and the other black with shadows of dark stripes.

The hindwing of both female forms has many iridescent blue scales and an orange marginal spot. On the underside of the forewing of both female forms the row of marginal spots merge into a continuous band. Their wing span is between 35/8 and 6 inches.

The Eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus, is found in North America east of the Rocky Mountains from Ontario south to the gulf coast and northern Mexico and lives in

deciduous broadleaf woods, forest edges, river valleys, streams, rivers and swamps parks, and suburbs. The males patrol for receptive females. The females lay eggs singly on host leaves.

Then the caterpillars eat the leaves and rest on silken mats in shelters of curled leaves of various plants including: wild cherry (Prunus), sweetbay (Magnolia), basswood (Tilia), tulip tree (Liriodendron), birch (Betula), ash (Fraxinus), cottonwood (Populus), mountain ash (Sorbus), and willow (Salix). Adults gather nectar from the flowers of a variety of plants including wild cherry and lilac.

As the dew vaporized and the humidity rose, butterfly sought cooling shade and I a nearby bench to sit upon while verses filled my head honoring back to nature.

Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when, in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey: with leaps and spring
I followed on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her, feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.
– William Wordsworth

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