While putting in some red cabbage plants in a bed in the veggie garden on Tuesday morning, September 28, I stood up to relieve my aching back and wipe my sweaty brow and looked around me. And saw my first Monarch butterfly of the autumn in my yard.
I was, of course, in gardening mode, not photography mode, so there was no camera around to record the event. I could only stand and watch and admire, and record the event in my mind's eye.
She (I always think of Monarchs as "she" unless proved otherwise) was flitting about a bed that contained hamelia, buddleia, lantana, butterfly weed, and yellow cestrum. She stopped to sip from each plant in turn. Her wings were worn and faded. I wondered how far they had carried her.
As I watched, she left the first bed and headed over to some esperanza that grows by the fence. She settled down to feed and I wished that she might linger with me for a while.
But a butterfly's life is brief. She had no time to waste. In a few minutes, as if she had heard some distant call, she rose from the shrub on her tattered wings and headed south once again. I last saw her as she crossed the yard of my next door neighbor and headed across the next yard, her wings beating strongly and with purpose.
When I thought about it later, I thought how appropriate it was that the last plant from which she fed in my yard was esperanza. Hope.