Saturday, June 20, 2015

It is almost time...

A quickening of the heart-rate. Eyes straining to focus in the strong sunlight to keep in view the dark shadow flitting along just above head height. Is it? Yes - a Purple Emperor! No-one else is near, so this is a private encounter, the one you have been dreaming about during those long winter evenings. A shimmer of scales and a flash of the imperial purple wing colouring takes your breath away. Still, stand still - but don't lose sight of HIM whatever happens. The gorgeous blue colour floods into the eyes and is intoxicating. More - I must have more. The size, beauty and majesty of the insect is mesmerizing. He flies closer now, curious, perhaps investigating the sweat-smell? Amazingly, you can hear his wings beating in the hot air as he circles you: Flack, flack flack, and now he lands some ten yards in front of you on the metalled track; his wings opening and closing whilst he taxis towards the damp patch that is all that remains of last night's downpour, probing with his bright yellow proboscis for the leached minerals essential for his vitality. Slowly now, willing yourself to move achingly slowly towards him but with your heart racing and not wanting to miss the opportunity that now presents itself. Your field-craft at this moment in time is crucial to a successful outcome - the prize is close. His Imperial Majesty is settled now, and his wings stay closed as he imbibes. You can see the chestnut and white markings of the undersides and also the orange eye with the black pupil. But this is not the goal you seek. You sidle up and slowly cast your shadow on HIM as though a passing cloud has interrupted the light and warmth of the sun's rays. Long seconds pass, and finally HE obliges and opens his wings in anticipation of the sun's return, and at last you are treated to the sight of the 'double purple' wing exposure, or rather a glorious and intense electric blue accentuated by the white markings, a colour that brings forth an involuntary gasp, that seems to bathe the eyes, perhaps even releasing endorphins into the brain? You bend your body from the waist towards HIM in acknowledgement of the presence of a higher being; Beep-Beep - Click. The digital camera records your triumphal moment. Your photograph may now be shared with others who will appreciate such natural beauty. Congratulations, it was well done.

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