Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Nature vs the Folly of Man

“History shows again and again how nature points up the folly of man . . .”
Blue Oyster Cult, "Godzilla" 

Monarch Caterpillar: photo by Cliff Hutson

A Book

Last night I finished reading "Career of Evil," by Robert Galbraith. This author is better known as J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame. It is the third book, written under this pseudonym,  about Cormoran Strike, a private deceive, and by far the worst in my opinion. I very much enjoyed "Cuckoo's Calling", the first in the series. The second "The Silkworm" was just adequate, to my mind. This last book stinks, in my opinion.

A more discerning reader might take exception to that. Which is cool by me. But, I found the descriptions of the crimes to be far too grisly for my taste. I feel that detective stories can be well done without this nonsense as proven by Robert Crais, Agatha Christy, and Edgar Allen Poe, whom many contend to be the progenitor of the genre.

However, I was very much intrigued that "Career of Evil" has an interesting conceit of heading up most chapters with lyrics from songs recorded by the band Blue Oyster Cult. Now, I have long considered myself to be a BÖC fan, but was not familiar with hardly any of these lyrics. And, after having seen them in this context, may never be able to enjoy listening to the band again.
Milkweed in Bloom: photo by Cliff Hutson

The Music

Even so, I will hold on to my second favorite BOC song, "(Don't Fear) The Reaper".  And, the one I like the best, "Godzilla". 

Just like the the novel, I started off this post with a snippet of actual lyrics. However, I have always thought of them as, "nature must pay for the folly of man." 

I, for the purposes of today's lesson, relate this conjecture to the decline of the Monarch Butterfly. As the referenced article states - "Across North America, the number of monarchs has dropped 27 percent in the last year alone, and by four-fifths since the 1990s. Habitat loss, especially in midwestern farm country, is a big reason. Farmers have plowed up most of the nation's milkweed patches to plant GMO soy and corn, much of it for ethanol fuels. But monarch caterpillars can only eat milkweed. And less food means fewer butterflies."

Asclepius fascicularis: photo by Cliff Hutson

The Pitch

Monarch caterpillars rely on milkweeds for food.  Fortunately, many California native species are quite attractive in the garden — and unlike milkweeds from elsewhere, they've evolved to bloom right when California monarchs need them.

Thus, I propose that many of us are in a position to give these little guys a hand. Please consider giving some space to help out our fellow creatures.

An Aside

The California Wildflower Show runs at RSABG from April 22 - 24, and the Butterfly Pavilion opens May 13, 2017.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017