Queen Lepidoptera, Holder of the Sacred Wings

These are the butterfly days of late September. Our new male monarch who eclosed yesterday morning among the Mexican sunflowers on the deck ended up spending the night on them. This morning, as soon as it began to clear up and get sunny, I offered him my hand, and he climbed aboard. Isn't he just beautiful? So small, so independent, so perfect! Look how pert his adorable little antennas are! I can't stand it! So cute!

My intention was to move him to the jewelweed in a sunny spot out front, where he could dry his wings and get ready to fly. My husband snapped a few photos of me - you may call me Queen Lepidoptera, Holder of the Sacred Wings (a name conferred upon me by a friend) - with the new butterfly in my hand before I placed him on the jewelweed. You may see us considering each other in this photo. I know what I think of him; what does he think of me?

I only recommend handling butterflies if they require assistance of some kind. And - yes, I wear butterfly shirts (this one was Barb's) when I handle my butterflies; I figure every bit of encouragement helps! And exercise universal precautions, please: if you touch a butterfly, WASH YOUR HANDS before handling another one.

Of course, the instant I put him down, the butterfly flapped his wings and began to fly! And he soared into the heavens and out among the trees. We have liftoff! Hooray! Well done! His amazing, long journey has begun! And the world has a brand new butterfly!

I wanted a song by Queen to go with this image, so here is one, performed by the remaining members of Queen, with George Michael and Lisa Stansfield: These Are the Days of Our Lives.

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