Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pieces of Monarchs

Yesterday evening I spotted yet another preying mantis on yet another Liatris ligulistylis. It had a silver-spotted skipper in its clutches, and two feet beneath it torn yellow sulphur wings, and these:

I scanned these in, inspired by bloom day scans of Craig at Ellis Hollow. If you click on and enlarge them they seem even more beautiful in their seeming grotesqueness, the details of hair and scales. This is the second monarch to succumb to a mantis in a week, both males, luckily. But it got me thinking, wouldn't this make a great book cover? Something with a seemingly unrelated title?

Yesterday we released 12 monarchs, today 15 are due to emerge. I've gathered the last of the caterpillars from the garden and peak migration here in Nebraska is in three weeks. At about that time I should be near the end of gathering my own pieces--100s of resources, books, websites, interviews, and images to put into a book. Not the above book, but something whose wings are bright and permanent, forever, but whose body is long gone. I think that's how memory is, how story is--the leftover wings, the aura, the devices but not the mechanism or the instigator. That's maybe what words are, too, an echo of some intense origin, an afterimage, a supernova light years away whose light may never reach us.


Kateri said...

Those are magically beautiful. And the book cover--haunting. I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by the cover, but I'd pick up a book with a cover like that and open it up to see what it is like on the inside.

wiseacre said...

Use only the best image and call the book.

A Wing and a Prey-er

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

I like the title.

How things going with the consulting business? Far be it from me to blow the wind up your arse, but if I lived over there I'd definitely want to consult. I've been having a look (again) at your garden photos and it looks beautiful. I know I've said that before. It certainly leapt. Or is that lept, or leaped?

Clicked the radio link. So that's what you sound like.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Kateri--oh no, you better judge a book by the cover. In today's visual world, it literally makes the difference! Now I just need a book!
WA--Oh man, yer good for a laugh. But just the laugh. :)
Rob--Gee, thanks, not like I'm already terribly freaked by my own voice. Geeze. The coaching business is non existent at this point. My garden is, really is incredible, but I guess it will have to stay just mine for now. I shall have leapt / leaped into it by the time you get this message.