Often, the absence of something is felt as tangibly as its presence.
Anyone who has ever lost a loved one—two-legged or four—knows this. The silence when returning home or the space in a room previously occupied by their being feels loud and hollow. The empty void as weighty as their once physical presence—leaving regret for ever having taken our time with them for granted.
This spring, the garden was filled with swallowtails, painted ladies and cabbage butterflies.
Now, there are none.
Two weeks ago, the hummingbirds were so busy drinking from the Agastache that this one ultimately decided to pull up a seat at the bar and rest while feeding despite the annoyance of my camera.
Since then, there have been none.
The garden is full of flowers that attract birds, bees, and butterflies.
The bees are plentiful and enjoying their solitary feast,
but the hummingbirds and butterflies are noticeably absent.
It was an unusually long, wet and cool spring but in the late two weeks, it has been unusually hot—record-setting hot. Hummingbirds must feed all day to sustain themselves, but they avoid the heat and seek shaded shelter.
If the nights are too warm, they cannot recharge. The result can cause malnutrition and exhaustion.
I prefer to hope that they have found another, more abundant source of nectar and tiny insects to feed their growing young somewhere—but the suddenness of their disappearance is disturbing.
Butterflies depend on a succession of blooms from spring to summer.
When they come too early, their life cycle is disturbed—potentially irreparably.
Have we altered our planet so significantly that even the havens we have created are inhospitable?
“You think you can fix everything, change everything. But there will come a day when things cannot be fixed. And, you know what, it will be a day just like today”. ~ American Indian elder, quoted by Kent Nerburn.
The garden is still beautiful, but it is not the same without the flying friends who usually accompany it.
It is quiet. Ultimately, the garden depends on the pollination these winged wonders provide to ensure its longevity. And not just the garden – our food supply. Without the bees and birds and butterflies, nature is in jeopardy.
What legacy do we leave in our wake?
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” ~American Indian proverb
Dear hummers and butterflies,
the flowers anxiously await your return…
as do I.