June 09, 2003

Butterfly Kisses

image copyright Fred First

As I got out of my truck in front of the house this afternoon, I was regaled by a flurry of dozens of wispy yellow and black butterfly wings. I've heard about releasing butterflies, ordered at no small expense, for weddings, anniversaries and the like, but never would I have expected for someone to arrange for such a celebration simply because one weary bumpkin arrives home from a rather ordinary day. I suppose my wife has beat me to the punch and honored me with a butterfly welcome. Wednesday is our 33rd wedding anniversary, and last year we both missed it. But more about that later.

Truth is, we have these congregations regularly around here. Today it was maybe twenty five tiger swallowtails, and two or three spicebush swallowtails. There is some substance necessary to butterfly metabolism at the places they chose to aggregate in impressive numbers, and often there are countless black bees taking part in the frenzy as well. Which element they come for I couldn't say, but for sure, it must be present in puppy pee. Every one of the dog's favorite unwatering holes is a butterfly gathering spot that looks like a local pub with dandys in a tight circle around the bar. I wondered at one time if maybe Buster the dog was diabetic and was losing sugar in his urine that made it attractive to bees and such.

In the way of an aside (I know. This is highly unusual for me...) do you know that there are two common forms of diabetes, a term that means 'to flow through': Insipidus and mellitus. Sugar diabetes is the latter. Diabetes mellitus means basically "honey flavored urine". And of course, insipid means tasteless. You got it. Docs of old used taste to tell the difference. Free story. No extra charge.

So, yessir, a year ago on the 11th, Ann and I both forgot it was our anniversary. One forgetting would have been a disaster, but two? Offsetting penalties! Whew! Close call. And now, this year we have both remembered, ahead of time even. But because of our schedules, neither one of us is 'available' to celebrate. I wrote about it last year, and called the tale "You Don't Bring Me Flowers Any More". If you're married it's worth the read... a story, with a moral. It could happen to you!

Later this week, when Ann and I walk up on a milling mass of yellow and blue and black butterflies, I think I'll claim I sent off to California for them and wish her a happy 33rd Anniversary. You think there's maybe the tiniest chance she'll pretend to believe me?

Posted by fred1st at June 9, 2003 08:21 PM | TrackBack

Do they do the Butterfly Census in your area?

Posted by: Joel at June 10, 2003 07:03 AM

Maybe you could tell her that, just as the bluebirds, etc., celebrated the love of Cinderella & Price Charming in the Disney movie, all of local nature is overflowing to celebrate the love that you two have shared for 33 years...(maybe a bit much? Ah, well, I trust you to fix it.) :^)

Posted by: Debi at June 10, 2003 07:20 AM

Not even the slightest chance, Fred. :P

From the words you bless us with I get the feeling you and Anne come closer to a true celebration of your life together with your nightly walks than many will ever reach even with the most extraordinary of parties. Enjoy!!

(Tim and I forgot our anniversary this year, too. But I didn't tell him that I forgot for a little while...let him sweat).

Posted by: Lisa at June 10, 2003 08:48 AM

happy anniversary! mine's in july and i'll try not to forget.

i enjoyed lunch yesterday. next time it's on me!


Posted by: bud at June 10, 2003 09:28 AM

Fred, the butterfly-wing picture made my morning, and then I got your good stories (this year's and last) on top of it! Early congratulations. Last year J. and I celebrated our 21st on an outcrop overlooking Vermont's Green Mountains. We had one large bottle of homemade wine some friends had given us, no glasses, and a loaf of good bread. The sun beat down on us like lizards while a hawk cried overhead, and there were no other sounds except the wind rustling the poplars. It was so perfect that we couldn't stand to leave, so we drank the whole bottle, took a couple "runback" pictures to commemorate the event, and helped each other back down the trail.

Posted by: beth at June 10, 2003 10:02 AM

Congrats, Fred, on your 33rd! If you make 33, it means that you're doing enough right that forgetting an occasional anniversary is excused, right?

But it's preeety darn lucky you *both* forgot!

Posted by: Cody at June 10, 2003 12:58 PM

Beautiful picture, wonderful story and, yes, maybe as you both missed last years anniversary, Anne just might believe you. You seem to have a sweet talking way with words, fred, maybe that's why it will 33 years to celebrate. A testiment of time. My wishes to you both.

Posted by: Alexandra at June 10, 2003 02:53 PM

LOL! We forget all the time...sometimes it dawns on one of us days or weeks later. Our 38th approaches on Oct 31. (Yes, Halloween.)

My 59th birthday is days away and in many ways I really don't feel any older than that warm summer night we started this dance.

She'll believe Fred.

Posted by: feste at June 10, 2003 03:38 PM

Happy Anniversary!

Posted by: bogie at June 11, 2003 07:43 AM

What a beautiful photograph. It almost looks abstract.

Happy Annivesary. May you see butterflies galore!

Posted by: Wendy at June 11, 2003 09:56 AM

Somewhat belated felicitations. And, if someone has time to educate me (the butterfly-ignorant) I'm wondering how one differentiates between the spicebush swallowtails and black male tiger swallowtails. Perhaps I'm remembering incorrectly, but I think that 50 years ago my brother, upon observing one yellow tiger swallowtail and one black swallowtail together, told me that the black one was a male. (Or is spicebush just another name for the male?)

Posted by: Cop Car at June 14, 2003 01:06 AM

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