Mourning cloak

Snow Butterfly, from the Undiscovery Channel on Vimeo.

What mourner wears maroon edged in gold? These dark wings are solar collectors, newly resurrected from hibernation or a long journey to the south. They are also billboards of a sort, advertising for sex.

mourning cloak on snow 2

But until the females emerge, there’s bare dirt and dung to eat, and snow to suckle. Find a path in the woods and make that your destination: land and circle, rise and double back. A month or more before the new leaves, your colors are made to match the fallen, the moldering. When the wind riffles the ridgetop leaves, you too can flutter. This is your glory time.

mourning cloak on snow 3

Later on, after the heat of mating is past, when the weather turns oppressively hot, you can let the strings of your life go slack a second time, creature of the in-between, of spring and autumn.

5 Replies to “Mourning cloak”

  1. I wonder if the snow butterfly gets its name from its taste for snow or for the white edges of its wings.

    Bethany and I noticed — for the first time, and independently of each other — last week that many of the leaves in our area start brown, the color of the leaves that left and fell last fall. We thought of the bald heads and wrinkles of babies.

  2. “Snow butterfly” is my own, made-up term. The proper name is mourning cloak.

    I guess the brown (or red, or yellow) is an outer casing over the bud, isn’t it? Good point though.

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