I went up to Fort Tryon Park to see what the garden up there was up to. (This picture is not from there, but from my sister's and brother-in-law's garden in Indiana, by the way). It was remarkably lush and beautiful, full of many more blooming things than I would have expected. One bush in particular caught my attention, however. It was full of middle-sized blossoms, with yellow-orange centers, and deep orange petals. I don't know what they were, they were the same shape as Black-eyed Susans, but with the different colors. Anyone?
Anyway, they were lovely, but the reason they caught my eye was because of the cloud, I mean FLOCK of monarchs that were feeding on them. If you've ever tried it, then you know it's not easy to count live butterflies, but I would say that there were never less than twenty on the bush, and often close to fifty feeding, floating on the breeze, flitting about in that butterfly way of theirs; since their wings were virtually the same color as the flowers, the whole thing seemed to be shimmering and dancing. Just in case I got too sappy about the glories of nature, I also watched a praying mantis catch and methodically eat one butterfly. None of the other Monarchs seemed bothered in the slightest; they kept drinking nectar right next to the mantis. So, just a little 'nature red in tooth and claw' to keep me grounded. I'm cool with that.
I sat and watched at for a couple of hours. I was sitting right under it, on a little raised brick border that runs along the path into the park. Anyone who has ever seen or been a child knows that this is the sort of thing one simple has to walk on, pretending to be a tightrope walker or some such. Okay, I admit it, sometimes I still have to pretend to be a tightrope walker, and walk on any narrow wall no matter what the height. At one point a little boy, no more than six, came along doing just that. When he got to me, he stopped to see what I was so engrossed by. His eyes widened at the wonder of glorious nature spread before him.
"Awww SHIT!" he said. Mom made some sort of mild remonstration, but kept walking.
"MOM!" he bellowed," I want a BUTTERFLY!" Then he scampered off after her.
Don't ask me why, but somehow I feel like this epitomizes my experience of New York.