Last year on this day, adrift on the shores of North Carolina, I caught some unmanned fishing poles with my camera and thought of my dad and his twin brother. I still like to think that they are fishing somewhere together, especially today, but I do not have any new beach pictures. So, I dug into the archives, to find some guys casting their lines on a beach, having a cold drink together on a beautiful day. Of course, these male Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies can cast and drink in one motion with their “fishing” proboscises. I am not sure how my dad and uncle would have reacted being compared to butterflies (well, I have an idea, hehe), but I would do my best to convince them there is hardly a better company to find oneself in.
I would tell them of the phenomenon known as “puddling” where male butterflies gather together on wet soil (or some more sordid substrates) and feed on the nutrients contained within. In at least two of the past few summers, I have seen the Tigers puddling at my favorite bug spot on the gravelly beach of a small man-made pond. They were pretty much at ease there in the Sun, drinking up the goodness of the earth. Oh sure, they flew off at the sight of the camera-toting mammal, crawling ever-closer on his stomach. But they would float in the air, scuttle off, then eventually return in wide, dreamy circles, to land, then feed, as if nothing had happened. It is quite a spectacle and makes for a happy, full moment; I wish my dad and uncle could have seen it, but their paths went a different way. It has been too long since we said so long, but I am thinking of my dad and his brother today. Happy birthday, Dad and Uncle Bruce.