Newborn Lepidopterist

We are sitting approximately 12 feet apart. I am on top of the dragon, and he is down in the shade of a plum tree. We are listening to my Spotify ‘discover weekly’ playlist through a Bluetooth speaker placed awkwardly between us, and we are both working on our respective creative vices.

I used to keep the Wolverton apple orchard to myself, but in the era of social distancing, I’ve realized that more people need access to the fragrant plumes of apple mint and lemon balm, and the gentle healing that comes from walking the aisle between the young apple and pear trees.

I am sweating factor thirty, relieved only occasionally by a breeze that is accompanied by the distressed chattering of a house sparrow; it seems her allotted tree branch doesn’t hold up well against the eastern element. Distracted by taking amusing photos of each other, Finn and I find our attention drawn back by a painted lady butterfly. It doesn’t stop to acknowledge us in return, but continues on its flight path to the adjoining allotments.

 The uncomfortable and unrelenting trill of our dying Bluetooth speaker is promptly put out of its misery by Finn.

 It seems as if today has become an accidental day for butterfly spotting. An Orange Tip followed by a Red Admiral brings our total up to three, not something that I remember happening since my early childhood. Both of the butterflies sizzle with confidence, but the striking silhouette of a Red Kite against the sun takes our breath away easily.

The grass is soft on my palms but scratchy on my bare thighs, and I think Finn is getting uncomfortably warm. I pause and indulge myself in the sweet smell of the cherry tree behind me before standing up and shaking myself off in preparation of my reluctant walk home.


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