Friday, August 17, 2007

Belly up to the bar~

On a previous jaunt with my camera, I stumbled across a woman sleeping on a blanket on the grounds of a mansion whose gardens I was touring. She woke to the sound of my camera's shutter. (I was not taking pictures of her.)

"Do you like butterflies?" she asked, apropos of nothing, as she rose to a sitting position. It turns out she had been meditating; I hadn't woken her at all, just interrupted her alpha waves.

I told her I did, and she told me where to find a butterfly zoo.

As she gave directions, I said, "Oh, yes, I know where you mean." I hadn't a clue, but I knew from experience that when I don't understand directions people give, they try again and again.

"You know where the ice cream stand is on Route 138? No? Well then do you know where the farm stand is across from the police station? No? How about the swamp hidden by the oak trees? Oh, you do? (No.) Well, go past the swamp about a half mile . . ."

A couple days later, I made the trip to the butterfly zoo-- courtesy of my GPS-- receiving a rather disappointing first impression: a dilapidated screened green house in an overgrown graveled lot.

Once inside the double security doors, after a lecture by the butterfly keeper on government regulations regarding butterflies, I was transported to the southern hemisphere, populated by insects, some of which I'd never heard of. Inside was a flowered habitat for over 400 butterflies of varying species fluttering about sipping nectar and landing on visitors.

Two South American Owl butterflies hung lethargically on the exit door.

"I'm not worried they'll escape," said the butterfly tour guide. "They're drunk."

It turns out that owl butterflies like to belly up to the bar. They spend most of their time sucking fermented fruit juice from a bowl of wretched looking bananas, and sleeping off the resultant intoxication.

"Oh, the poor things," I said.

"Hey, they only live two weeks. Do you blame them?"

Upon leaving the zoo I impulsively followed signs to the Greenvale winery. It sounded like a good place to take pictures. I was given a tour of the vineyards overlooking the ocean, snapped some pictures and bellied up to the bar for a taste of fermented fruit juice.

I bought two bottles of local wine and will sip a little on the patio, while watching the birds as the sun goes down, but not enough to leave me lethargically hanging from anything. I prefer to spend my life alert and aware.

As for the owl butterflies . . . oh, the poor things. They're missing life, and their life is too short as is.

More butterflies in my life~
Butterfly kisses~

Real life~

The zoo~
The Butterfly Zoo


Voyager said...

I can almost hear those butterflies singing Cheryl Crow:
"I love a good beer buzz in the morning: All I want to do is have some fun, 'till the sun goes down...." If one believes in reincarnation it wouldn't be a bad way to spend a two week life, as long as you get more aware ones too. Unfortunately I believe this is the only life we get. I'll stay away from the banana beer.

rain said...

Hi! Just happened upon your blog. Love your butterfly pictures. I'll come back and visit again, if you don't mind.

Ruth D~ said...

V~ Cheryl Crow! Perfect. The butterflies were beyond singing by the time I got to the zoo. Now I know why they need that giant fake eye. Their real tiny ones are seeing double, but their predators don't know that.

Rain~ If I don't mind? I'd love you to return. Any insomniac is a friend of mine. :>) If by chance you like butterflies, you might want to read these posts: "Real Life" (July 22) and "Butterfly Kisses" (Aug. 4). I should make links, because like you . . . "I'm just amusing myself" with this blog. It's fun . . . and time consuming.

Janice Thomson said...

So my question is this: if the owl butterfly spends its time being drunk/sleeping and only lives for 2 weeks how come the species isn't extinct?
In the pic of them on the bananas they look more like fish to me LOL
Good post Ruth...I enjoy reading info about butterflies.

Carter said...

Unless the ones in the zoo live wretched lives, or drink too much, they live for years. Our monarchs have just begun their annual immigration to Mexico. I watched hundreds of them head south over Mt. Agamenticus, just over the border in Maine, several years ago. But maybe they're teetotallers, get lots of exercise, etc.


Ruth D~ said...

Janice~ After the booze and before the snooze . . . that's when they take care of business.

C~ This zoo replaces stock every couple of weeks because the BFs die. From what I understand, not all speciesof monarchs make the migration trek. I'll have to look into that more. Must have been a moving sight to see the migration begin. Better than the swallows, etc.

Rick Bylina said...

Somedays it seems that all the butterflies in NC are in our backyard in our butterfly bushes and spinning cocoons in our carrots that have gone to seed...not to mention the fennel. Even in the evening, they fight with the ruby-throated hummingbirds for sugary nectar in the feeders. But drunk? I don't permit it ever since I had to pick up drunk hummingbirds from inside my open garage. Never did figure out what they drank.

-rick bylina

Barbara said...

I've always been fascinated by the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, but I know little about the other species of butterflies. Can you imagine trying to cram a whole lifetime into 2 weeks?

Ruth D~ said...

Rick~ We have hummingbirds in MA, but they are more Puritanical than the drunken birds of NC. And they go after the glads, not the butterfly bush. Our carrots didn't get to go to seed this year; something got in and ate the tops.

Barbara~ It's even stranger to think that they actually live a year or so, but in different stages, most of which is curled up in a chrysalis. I always wondered if the butterfly had memories of its hungry caterpillar stage.