Well, this is embarrassing. My last blog post was on August 14: bees hard at work in the blazing sun. Now it’s Thanksgiving. The trees are mostly bare, the ground is mostly covered with leaves. Chilly winds whip dark clouds across the sky, easing from time to time to let woodsmoke tickle the nose. Life is full of turkey anticipation, apple cider wishes, and pumpkin-spice everything. I have just one question:
Where the heck did Summer go?
Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, the Summer Queen took her leave and left the stage. Perhaps she’s waiting in the wings for her curtain call. Do the damselflies and dragonflies know where we might find her?
Damselfly on the move. See the faint traces of the wings? Tough to photograph these insects in flight, much less ask questions of them.
Ah, that’s better. Perching critters I can handle. Have you seen Her Majesty? No?
Not very talkative.
The dragonflies aren’t talking either. In fact, they’re a little rude. This haughty fellow turned his back on me.
On the other hand, this guy was very aware of me as I was taking his portrait. No matter where I moved, he turned to face me, never once taking his eyes off me.
Silent as a tomb.
So the damsels and dragons of the cast don’t know where the Summer Queen has gone.
Perhaps the chorus does?
Huh. If all the singers sound like this, this show will be a flop!
Unless it’s a bluegrass show. Green frogs, after all, sound like banjos.
In any event, he can’t answer my question.
The set décor is lovely. Kudos to the stage crew.
Perhaps Her Majesty has retired to her dressing room? Surely the butterflies primping backstage have seen her.
She has not been spotted by the Red-spotted Purple.
The Clouded Sulphur’s memory of the Queen seems to be… clouded.
One would think that the Monarch butterfly would know the whereabouts of her fellow royal.
One would be wrong, however.
She’s happy to give me a lesson on her own life, however. She knows from whence she came and eagerly shares. Egg to brightly striped caterpillar to chrysalis to orange beauty, in a course of a few short weeks.
Silence on the set! All fluttering stops as the stage manager, a Cecropia Moth caterpillar, slowly waddles though. No time for frivolity or conversation!
After the caterpillar’s passage, I swallow my pride and inquire of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail as to where I might find the Summer Queen. He shakes his head and waves me off in the direction of…
A Great Spangled Fritillary, shaking her purple pompom. She pays me no heed.
My last hope: a delicate Azure butterfly. Do you know where the Summer Queen might be?
At a loss, I left the theater and sat down to munch on a fresh strawberry, pilfered from the backstage spread. In the fading light, the marquee flashed the production’s title:
Suddenly it dawned on me: I’d been dream-walking through memories of summer that took place months ago, before the Summer Queen took her annual and inevitable bow.
I hadn’t missed a minute of Her Majesty’s command performance! I’d seen it all, from her grand entrance to her curtain call, and my photos prove it. I know what became of Summer.
Now, at Thanksgiving, I realize I’ve asking the wrong thing all along. The real question is:
Where did Autumn go?