My story about the Butterfly on my deck originally included a Hummingbird. The tale is true, but I decided not to stretch my credibility by putting two improbable creatures in the same post, but they were in fact on my deck under a canopy at the same time.
There are a pair of the little birds that work the red Bee Balm, and the huge Hibiscus flowers, a brilliant scarlet. We have had hummingbirds in the gardens for years, so although they never outwear their welcome and run short of charm, they are not really a novelty. The birds prefer red, going after Million Bells hanging plants which they like so much they actually come around the plant to work the flowers hanging underneath the roof. They are not shy about being inside the canopy.
So, while I was trying to get the photos of the black and blue Butterfly with my battery-less camera a hummingbird came around the Million Bells and encountered me–standing less than arms length from his hovering pattern as he treaded air for maybe ten seconds before it flew up and away. Maybe it saw its reflection in my glasses.
This is the first time a bird and I have been in such close proximity, although we do watch them frequently through the glass door. Too bad the camera was following Murphy’s Law — if anything can go wrong, it will — and I admit it is the operator and not the camera that are to blame.
©Patricia Dreger, Sometime, 2011
[Thanks to photographer and blogger Karen Chandler, of Visioning, photography and digital scrapbooking, for permission to use her photo of the hummingbird.]
At first I thought it was artificial, a butterfly made of painted wood, with wire legs and antennae. One of the kids had put it there to fool me, or as a surprise. I stared at it closely, and one of its legs twitched almost imperceptibly. Its black body was covered with white polka-dots, close together in horizontal rows. It appeared almost surreal, its delicate wings black and a cobalt blue, with yellow and white dots.
My cellular phone was in my pocket, and I took three photos before the phone’s camera froze up. It would not shut down, save, change functions… the light would not go off.
[Here’s where the plot thickens, in maddening illustration of Murphy’s Law of Cameras.]
My trusty Nikon had died, and I had been using my son’s camera. It works well enough, as long as the packaging tape holding the battery case stays tightly in place. But there was a problem, I had neglected to replace the batteries…I guess hoping for a break giving another burst of power . The power light flickered a couple of times then quit. OH NO! Prying off the tape was more difficult than it sounds, but there were four AA batteries in the refrigerator. They would not work…apparently old batteries that should have been thrown away.
I kept glancing out the window, checking to make sure the butterfly was still there. I tried to call my camera savvy daughter, who was not answering her phone. Verizon had a “longer than normal wait” for service. A small radio in my room had no batteries. Finally another look into the refrigerator bag miraculously provided four brand new AAs, which worked fine. The tape worked as it was supposed to and the battery case was in place. The red light came on.
During my frantic search the butterfly continued to sit in place without moving, for a full twenty minutes. Once it spread its wings fully and walked up the post a few inches, stretching its legs. But when I went back outside, the camera ready–the butterfly was no longer there– apparently tired of waiting for me to get my act together.
Well…the photo that I did get turned out, proving that my butterfly was real. I’m honored to have communicated with the butterfly. Now if my camera skills, or rather my battery replacing skills improve–maybe I’ll be ready the next time nature leaves me a beautiful gift.
©Patricia Dreger, Sometime, 2011