Monday, July 8, 2013

Beauty is as beauty does?

photo of butterfly-weed (orange mildweed) in bloom
© harrington
Hi! Doesn't that butter-fly weed just look like Summer? It's also known as orange milkweed. In addition to making lots of butterflies happy, it had lots of medicinal uses for Native Americans. I had no idea. Did you? How many other things do we take for granted when we should be in awe of their potential uses beauty? How easy it is to slip into the mode of judging on utilitarian values alone. How easy to think utility pertains only to us. Do butterflies see aesthetic beauty in orange milkweed or do they recognize it primarily as a source of nectar? Does a butterfly salivate at a field of orange milkweed the way I do when I smell a Juicy Lucy and onion rings? I discovered over the weekend that we have an Audubon field guide to North American butterflies but that it doesn't include moths. (I know, moths and butterflies aren't the same.) The latest issue of Big River magazine has photos of moths and then I noticed a very large moth on the kitchen window screen on Saturday. That combination got me started looking through our field guide library for moth references. I soon discovered that I can probably figure out any butterfly I come across in My Minnesota, but I'm strictly OTL (out to lunch) when it comes to moths. Such are the challenges of being an armchair naturalist. On the other hand, I did come across a web site on Butterflies and Moths of North America, that's worth checking out if you're into Lepidoptera and whatever. I bet you didn't know that later this month (July 20-28) is National Moth Week. Did you? I'm starting to feel that we've made it to "those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer" and I'm even less focused than usual. I'll stop now before I begin prattling, if it's not too late already. Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.