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In Praise of Mystic Summer Swallowtails

February 27th, 2012 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, do the stunning swallowtail butterflies have any notion of just how spectacular and photogenic they really are?

I’ve spent many a summer day butterfly watching – indulging my delight in these delicate, winged creatures and managing to find more than 80 different species. But the elegant swallowtails always cause me to linger. Such near perfection that emanates from…

An uncommonly patient Black Swallowtail… the delicate scalloping of its hindwings flaring into the distinctive “tails”… the suffused blue patches each like a master brush stroke… the double-fringed forewings impossibly symmetrical… its choice to perch so majestically on the purple bloom of an inhospitable thistle.

A rather preoccupied Spicebush Swallowtail… seemingly defying gravity as it clings with thread-like legs to a purple wildflower… angelic hindwings in mid flutter embracing a sister flower… the cluster of orange crescents pointing to the teardrop tail.

The immense Giant Swallowtail resting peacefully on veined green leaves at the dark forest edge… flamboyant yellow spot bands against a backdrop of velvet black… the subtle flare of blue and orange where the hindwings intersect… yellow pearls encased in the exaggerated black tails.

The splash of summer yellow Canadian Tiger Swallowtail… triplets of black bands sprawling across the golden palette… hints of orange here and there… arching wings mirroring the flared green leaves as it feeds on a profusion of pinkish blossoms.

A magnificent Eastern Tiger Swallowtail “puddling” in the mud of a Pelee Island back road… powdered white outer wings fading into speckled blue… orange accents lovingly placed as if by the hands of the Maker himself… forewings majestically posed as if only seconds from take-off.

Ever will these elegant creatures be a metaphor for the wondrous beauty, exquisite detail and fragile majesty of nature. We are their guardians. In our hands lies their fate.

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel” – double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.comor the novel online companion at

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