“Couples loiter in the cloisters, social leeches…”

On an August afternoon when D.C. is balmy and the news is all nonsense, it’s a nice surprise to wander through the cathedral garden and find queen butterflies swyving.

“Sire Monk, namoore of this, so God yow blesse!
Youre tayle anoyeth al this compaignye.
Swich talkyng is nat worth a boterflye…”
Geoffrey Chaucer, Prologue to the Nun’s Priest’s Tale

“Boterflyes beþ smale fleynge bestes þat comeþ by night / in candeles and fondeþ to quenche þe light.”
— John Trevisa (c.1342-1402), trans., Bartholomaeus Anglicus’ De Proprietatibus Rerum (On the Properties of Things)

“And we’re glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife. Come on! Hold on tight!”
— Meat Loaf, c.1977

When queen butterflies mate, the male flies around with the female hanging beneath him. It’s quite a sight.

Even squirrels are impressed by that.

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