The butterflies before the storm

3 mins read

By Lee Scott

For some reason, right before Florence came to call, and right before we were advised to leave Beaufort County, the Monarch butterflies came flying en masse to my community. I do not remember seeing so many butterflies in the flower gardens at my community pool as I did that afternoon.  I am sure some of our South Carolina state butterflies, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, were present, I just could not see them amidst all the familiar Monarchs. As I sat there admiring them, our resident landscape manager came by. 

“Why are there so many?,” I asked her.

“It’s just this time of year,” she said as she hurried to organize her staff.

I had forgotten about the annual migration going on with Monarch butterflies. They need a temperature above 70 degrees to survive and we have certainly had those temperatures.  

Fortunately, we have an arborist who understands the importance of butterfly gardens, and the bush daises and zinnias were favorites that day as I watched them swarm around the flowers. I took picture after picture of the Monarchs drinking in the nectar of the flowers, but it is hard to see them in the pictures because their wings seemed to meld into the colors of the flowers.

As I sat there looking at the butterflies, I became aware of people coming into the pool area who were not wearing bathing suits. They were employees who came to put away the chairs, tables, and umbrellas along with securing the smaller planters. I am sure they thought it odd that there was one lone swimmer in the pool. But my work was done that day. My husband and I had put our boat in storage. We had cleaned off the screen porch furniture and put it in the living room. The Adirondack chairs were scrubbed and stored in the garage. The car was gassed up, we had water bottles, fuel for our generator (if needed) and I had even gone to the County Convenience Center to get rid of our trash. I had completed my preparations and just wanted to swim.

But as I sat there watching the last of the chairs put away, I knew it was time to say goodbye to the pool and the butterflies. They too had to prepare for the coming bad weather. Turns out butterflies hide in tree hollows and go under rocks during storms. 

By the grace of God, I will soon be back in the pool swimming. The chairs, umbrellas and tables will be in place and once again I will sit and admire the latest butterfly migration.   

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