Monday’s Muse

During the blaze of noon, between two sumptuous thunderstorms, the mud of Russian roads serves as a drinking establishment for the male Blues, but not every damp spot is suitable; the intensity of visitation is determined by a certain average saturation of the soil as well as the greater evenness of its surface. On an attractive spot like this, with a round, runny border and a relatively limited diameter (rarely exceeding two feet), a group of butterflies settles at close quarters; if one startles the gathering, it rises en masse and remains suspended in a “sorting” hover over the given spot on the road, descending to it anew with mathematical precision….
Only the air cooling toward evening, or the arrival of clouds, puts an end to the banquet. I have had occasion to observe the presence of one and the same specimen of Meleager’s Blue sitting from eleven in the morning until a quarter to six in the evening, when the long shadow of a nearby oak had reached the very spot where, besides my friend and a few other engrossed Blues and a handful of golden adonis, there remained (from three in the afternoon) a small cluster of boyarishnitsa (Black-veined Whites), whose general appearance was reminiscent either of little paper cockerels or a regatta of sailboats heeling this way and that. In all those hours the composition and size of the gathering would vary and more than once I inadvertently shooed away my Meleager while fishing out some trifle I needed from the general heap.
Now, with the onset of shade, it would soar with elastic grace and, having chosen a bough to perch on — a choice not at all typical for Lycaena in a normal state, but quite characteristic as a temporizing maneuver for a butterfly that has left a “drinking place” — would settle on a Rubus leaf, as if hoping that the dusk and the chill were but the passing influence of a cloud and that, in a moment, one could return. In a few minutes I noticed that it had dozed off; with that, the observation ended.
~ Vladimir Nabokov

Published by Rachael M Rollson

creative life-learner

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