The blackthorn was in full bloom. Lichen festooned the branches and fought for space amongst the tiny white star flowers.
In the heat of the vernal sun a host of insects sought the life giving nectar that surged from the life giving blossom. Hoverflies dominated, joined by the occasional bee and bee-fly.
The white froth of flowers also attracted the attention of a particular butterfly. Brown and battered it fed hungrily, extending its tongue to drink in the sweet liquid, taking the blackthorn pollen from blossom to blossom as it dined. At first glance the butterfly wasn’t obviously a peacock, its wings drained of colour and raggedy around the edges.
However the subdued patterns belied it as such. An ancestral peacock butterfly. One that had seen through the cold dark of winter and emerged to mate and procreate. But first to eat.
I wonder how many succumb to the deep slumber as the frost bites? How many are picked off by hungry mice and birds as they sit deathly still in their chosen spot? This one made it through. Even the previous night’s hard frost that patterned the windows and stiffened the grasses hadn’t defeated its dogged desire to be the next generation.
This butterfly saw it through to the end and awoke to find a newness in the air as a post equinox sun coaxed life from the earth once more. Her progeny will rise and take their place alongside the biodiversity of spring, firstly as hungry caterpillars who will help curb the lush green growth and then as butterflies who will pollinate and fertilise their way across the valley of Roeburndale.
Here’s to the Ancestral Butterfly!