Search This Blog

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Spring Blues...

It is a blue-butterfly day here in spring,
And with these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.

                          "A Blue-Butterfly Day" 
                          Robert Frost                                                    

Spring came to the garden last weekend. Or perhaps I should call its appearance symbolic, a harbinger, if you will, of the loosening of winter's grip, its dreary hold on our emotional well-being. It alighted on a blooming weed and opened its wings to the sun under a spring sky as azure, as iridescent as its wings: a small blue butterfly commonly known, and aptly so, as the "spring azure." Frost's spring butterfly was most certainly an azure as these little shards of blue herald spring from coast to coast across the northern states.

Blues belong to the family Polyommatinae as in "poly"for "many." Washington State is home to approximately sixteen different species of blues. On a late spring day in some locales in Eastern Washington as many as five different species can be seen flying together.To my knowledge
this little vernal messenger is the only blue butterfly that flies in our Valley.

This year's sighting was early (third week in March). Celastrina argiolus (the scientific moniker for the azure, a big name for such a small bug) usually flies here in May. I've seen them on warm afternoons drifting along our arborvitae hedge like windswept scraps of blue tissue paper. By June their cycle is usually finished, but during last year's uncharacteristically hot, dry summer, I observed an azure in late August, albeit a bit tattered and frayed, lazing about the rows in the vegetable garden.

Fluttering in on blue wings, spring--or at least the insinuation of it-- has come to the last.

(Note on photo: a pair of azures, male above; female below

Print this post

No comments:

Post a Comment