I broke up a butterfly brawl today.
To you men who have gotten this far, Do Not Fear; this is not a girlie post about butterflies. It's more about their kamikaze behavior than it is the species themselves. Trust me, everyone who has driven a motor vehicle - Smart Car, Moped, motorcycle, two-axle car, 18-wheeler - can relate to today's post.
Last Saturday I'm on my way home from my bookshop. The road leading to my home's farmroad out in cow-growing-country is a state highway, farms on both sides of the road, beaucoup acres of open space. I'm driving peaceably down this road when I realize that Val (my car) and I are mowing down butterflies. We are a vehicular, off-screen version of the video game, Angry Birds.
I think, WHAT are they doing?? Quarreling over air space? Duking it out over who has Roadway-Right-Of-Way? Bitterly disputing why someone didn't stop and ask for directions six miles back?!
I mean, really. If you are a being that weighs less than a Styrofoam plate, can land on a silver dollar leaving half of it for something else to land on, and have no notion of how to fly a straight course, you should not be wandering into the pathways of heavy metal objects moving at a much faster rate than you on a roadway that does not allow for steering deviations.
Your lives are already so short;Why shorten them even more?
Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on them. After all butterflies are nearsighted, a 10-12 feet path of vision at best. And here I must pause because when I read this fact in an issue of Missouri State Conservationist, I laughed aloud at the image that fact conjured up: a butterfly at an optometrist's office, sitting in a big black chair, reading an eye chart through an enormous contraption. The OD drones,
"What is the smallest line of print you can read?"
y o u a r e l u c
k y t o b e a l
i v e y o u w
a c k y w i n g
e d c r e a t u r e
"Does it look clearer here?"
(a snick as he rotates the lens), "or here?"
Men, here's an opportunity to gain some knowledge about butterflies so you can impress those women in your life who adore these fragile being:
Butterflies taste with their legs....They cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees....They are important pollinators, 4th after beetles, flies and bees....They survive on an all-liquid diet. (Nectar for the main course, mud puddles for salts and minerals - yum!)....Their wings are really transparent....Lifespans are, 2 weeks to 2 months on average, with the migrating monarch having the longest, 9 to 12 months.
In these parts of Missouri it's common to see, or plow into:
If humans perambulated in the same fashion as butterflies navigate we'd be falling into ditches, slamming into each other on sidewalks, smacking into parked cars, light poles and buildings. (If your ambulations result in any of these mishaps, might I suggest less TGIF time at your local watering hole?)
And as much as it pains me to see them pressed into the grille of my car, I'd rather run into them than one of these: