Where the Butterflies Dance

With the daily thunderstorms apparently behind us, at least for now, we were looking at a couple of fabulous summer days. They are the days that you remember from childhood, when there was finally enough daylight, and enough time, and the temperatures were perfect, and comfortable. The sun shone bright. Little breezes blew. The sky was blue.

Since it was cooler and less humid, we took off for the woods of Sproul State Forest, where we spent our day. It was cool in the shadows; warm in the sun. The woods were filled with mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Pennsylvania's state flower. It lines the hills and valleys. It shines out in shades of white and pale pink.

Fortunately, the butterflies love the mountain laurel, and we saw a bunch of yellow tiger swallowtails flitting about, playing with each other, and enjoying the pretty, delicate pink and white blossoms. You may see a photo of a tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) on mountain laurel in the extras.

I also came upon a large group of butterflies puddling. It was a spot that wasn't even damp, or muddy, which butterflies typically prefer for such activities. The butterflies are attempting to obtain nutrients from the soil that will aid in their reproductive success. But it looks like dancing!

In this photo, you may see four spicebush swallowtails (Papilio troilus) on the left, and a smaller red-spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) on the right. At one point, they were joined by a tiger swallowtail or two, and earlier, before I got any decent photos, as the butterflies lifted and swirled around me, there were white admirals among them.

We were walking up the hill that is our favorite winter sledding hill, when my husband almost stumbled over something on the ground. What was it? A hammer! Where a hammer came from in the middle of nowhere, who even knows? But there is no lost and found in the great woods, so he kept it and brought it home. Strange days indeed!

My soundtrack song is for the butterflies and their dance. So here are the Hooters, with And We Danced. And this song is for my husband and his new-found hammer: Johnny Cash and June Carter, with If I Had a Hammer.

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