Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Fate of the Butterfly

Well, it's a good thing I took a picture of the spectacular lotus to post on the blog, because shortly thereafter an insane storm arrived with such heavy downpour that it was smashed flat. I lost power at around 8 pm and have no idea when it was finally restored, as I was out all day after. *must clean out freezer and fridge*

The only bonus was to be the recipient of a first-ever, personalized local rainbow, which began and ended at Wit's End. I think, because the sun was about to set, it encompassed a very small area. How lucky I was to spot it and photograph it!

A tree fell across the street and crashed into the power pole, which was broken. Because lines were lying on the road, a crew was dispatched from Pennsylvania to cut the tree limbs out of the way. They had arrived around 3 am, their chain saws woke me at 5, and when I saw them around 7 they were quite weary, keeping vigil until the overstretched linemen could arrive to set a new pole and hook it all back up.

Here is some of the carnage from the storm. The workers told me they heard there had been a tornado, which is the same thing everyone was saying last weekend in Frenchtown when the huge trees collapsed. Mind you, no one actually saw any such tornado, and my guess is that is it alleged because nobody can imagine so much tree damage absent that sort of extreme wind.

They don't realize how weak the trees already are. Soon, if you look at them cross-eyed, they will crumple.

This video was on the Huffington Post, and followed by these intriguing comments:

"There was hail in my suburban NJ town yesterday and that was crazy, so this is true. Something very serious is going on and it's scary. Trees were down all over the place."

"It's the end of the world as we know it."

"I feel the same way, everything is dying, even mature trees here in Houston."

While I was chatting with the power company employees, I had a closer look at these pines that I pass every day. When middle daughter Sophie was little enough to still have an adorable lisp, I bought about a dozen tiny year-old trees, thinking that they would make a good screen for the road eventually, as traffic on our country lane was bound to increase. Of course, most of them were mowed down by the town clearing the roadside, because they were too small to see, swamped in weeds, even though I marked them. But these three managed to escape decapitations and now they are much much taller than Sophie.

Seeing how the needles are turning yellow made me cry. Once sometime earlier, when we were working in the garden, Sophie asked me, "Is it true fir trees are really soft?" She had a favorite picture board book she loved to read over and over, about a pine and how it goes through the seasons, and it took me a minute to realize she thought "fir" and "fur" were the same. I told her as gently as I could that actually, fir trees were generally sort of prickly.

But on to the alleged subject of this post, the butterflies. I have already mentioned I have seen relatively few this season, and this morning, on NPR, there was a story about them. I couldn't find it on their website, but I located an article that has the exact same information.


I will end with these two links:


This is reminiscent of ice storms crushing trees being written off as "weather" events:



  1. Gail, your personal and perceptive blog is so moving. Thanks. It spurs me to go out and take pictures today.

  2. Richard thank you and please send some photos. Sophie just called - she has been hiking and camping in the Grand Canyon and claims to have fantastic pictures so maybe she will let me share some on the blog.

  3. Thank you for your insight.

    We have been studying the trees in Pennsylvania for several years. Many are beyond weak... they are dead.

    Though we can not obtain a scientific consensus, evidence is pointing to ozone.
    (see Foliage Spoilage & the Trees' Canopy Collapse )

    If you, or your readers, can provide more information, it would be greatly appreciated.

  4. oh my god Daniel! A voice in the wilderness!

    I have been leaning towards ozone - or ultraviolet radiation - because potted plants and the lotus in the pond show the same leaf damage.

    I took some pictures of leaves yesterday - will post later, I don't have time now but will read your site later.

    Thank you so much for your comment!


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