Musings & Threads: The Butterfly Bush
Ten years ago a friend noted the “perfect spot for a butterfly bush” in a cut-out in our yard. He said the bushes really do attract butterflies, and they are light and airy—bloom all summer and we would “just love it.” Who were we to argue with that?
Each year, it made a fairly nice showing and attracted a fair amount of butterflies. We didn’t think much about it—except for it has an unusual scent—not bad and not especially good either—maybe a little pungent. Having a “live and let live” sensibility, we cut it back each year, and it grew large over the summer, and we cut it back again in the fall. The butterflies came, alighted, and went on their way.
About three weeks ago, I was “out back” with our dog, and the ball I had just thrown for her landed a few feet away from the butterfly bush. To my surprise, there were several butterflies on it. They looked like small monarchs. As I looked at the bush more closely, I saw that there were many, many butterflies, maybe as many as 30! My eyes were transfixed. Every time I looked again, there were more. I stared at the bush the entire time I was outside, I couldn’t take my eyes away. It gave me such a good feeling to see them—and I was thinking that somehow we got on their migratory route.
The next day, there were more! I lost count at 50. Flying around, alighting, “sipping” the flowers. It was a hub of the most delicate activity and a beautiful natural sight. I wondered if they came every year prior, but I was too distracted to see them.
The third day, the butterflies were still there. I am embarrassed to say that I forgot about them--until a butterfly flew right next to me and back to the bush bringing my gaze along with it. There were fewer butterflies on the bush, but still at least 20. How could something so beautiful and mesmerizing become so “ordinary” in one day’s time? So commonplace to me that I forgot to look for them. I have to say that I felt disappointed in myself. I forced myself to look—to watch them because I knew that they would be gone soon enough. They barely held my interest. I couldn’t help but think that this was a microcosm of something extraordinary that simply waned—like beauty, love, interests—you get the picture. Something for me to think about.