Sunday, 15 May 2022

'An affair of places'

 Talking of butterflies – yesterday morning, a summer-like day of blue skies and strong sunlight, I made my way to one of my regular local patches to see what was flying. Surely there would be plenty on the wing on such a day, I imagined – but when I got there, I found nothing resembling abundance. I upped my species tally by spotting my first Small Heath, Common Blue and Small Blue of the year (the last a speciality of this particular site) – but only one of each, and scarcely more than one of anything I saw: three or four Small Coppers was the best of it. Such sparseness at this time of year, when things should be really livening up, is worrying. I do hope the next couple of months bring more of the glorious abundance that is one of the joys of being among butterflies. 
  As I wandered about this patch of Surrey downland, which for me is full of happy memories of family times as well as lepidopteral delights, I reflected that this time next year (even at the present glacial rate of progress) I shall be exploring fresh woods and pastures new as I investigate the butterflies of Staffordshire. I fancy I might miss those Surrey downs and hills more than anything else about living down here. As Wallace Stevens wrote (in Adagia): 'Life is an affair of people not of places, but for me life is an affair of places and that is the trouble.' 

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