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Retrospective: The Butterfly Effect

September 10th, 2022 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, can I initiate a ripple of good will that sends hope on the wing far and wide?

I usually wait until winter sets in before I do my first retrospective of the winged wonders that I crossed paths with in my summer hikes. But my posts have been rather gloomy lately as I dig around in the messy issues that are dominating our society. So in the interest of lightening the mood, I am turning over this post to the butterflies of summer.

This striking butterfly is a Giant Swallowtail – so named because of its large size. With a wingspan of about five inches, it is the biggest butterfly that graces our fields and meadows and typically arrives in mid to late summer as it expands north across the Great Lakes. It flies with a graceful series of strong flaps and short glides.

Silver-spotted Skippers like the one above are early birds. They start appearing in early June if the weather is warm enough. Named for the large silver spot in the wings, they are quite common, very photogenic and quite cooperative. This lovely specimen perched perfectly on a broad flat leaf to be photographed.

Red Admirals are quite common in these parts but always command attention with their splash of red, orange, black and chocolate brown. They are hyperactive active dashing about frantically and erratically as if in a mad rush to get somewhere. Red Admirals are a pugnacious species that darts out at anything crossing their territory including humans.

No butterfly retrospective would be complete without the Great Spangled Fritillary. It is the most eye-catching butterfly in our area with its bright golden upper wing with black markings and the gaudy silver spots on the underwing. It is also among the larger butterflies here with a wingspan of about three inches and lights up any meadow it frequents.

This year was in fact a relatively poor one for butterflies in terms of numbers. It may have been the drought conditions that prevailed which made them scarce. But although they were fewer in number, they still were an infusion of beauty and grace.

The butterfly effect metaphor denotes that small things can have a big effect – i.e. a butterfly flapping its wings causes a chain reaction which results in a major change somewhere in the world. So if this retrospective of winged wonders lifts your spirit, let us hope the ripple effect crosses the planet and spreads good will and hope at a time when it is very much needed.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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