Aye, Aye, Sir

This white admiral ne’er went to sea nor smelled salt air. A landlubber from tail to antenna tip.

Still, as I watch, I glimpse possibilities: It bobs in the light, tacking fro and to, as though under sail.

One made so bold as to land near my boot where even a gentle nudge could break a wing.

Aspen, poplar and willow kept the larvae fed. Now, as adults, they look for sap, rotting fruit and dung. (I’d prefer flowers. Just saying.)

The wingspans on these were on the short side, about 5 cm (about 2 in). Apparently they reach twice that, about 10 cm (4 in). What a flurry of colour that would be.

These butterflies have seen rough weather. The glossy purple-black of new-fledged adults is scratched and worn, a wing tip is missing, and the gorgeous blue dashes and red spots are fading.

Character. That gets us all through tough times.

White admiral   Limenitis arthemis