Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dido and Aeneas

Of some thirteen eggs deposited on our dill plants early this butterfly season, six survived to form their pupae. Of these four had taken flight as of yesterday morning. Brigitte named the two still in chrysalis Dido and Aeneas. We took Aeneas across the Metro to Monique and John’s domain, thus paralleling Aeneas own travel from Troy to North Africa. Dido emerged yesterday morning—and luckily for us was indeed a female. I bring her image here. She was quite large and flew off in the already well-established and, one might say, blessed northerly direction.

Butterflies, fortunately, have not as yet reached the exalted stages of existence where the conquest of great cities, murder, suicide, tragedy, and high poetic drama play any role at all. Dido therefore is safe. Indeed she was a splendid specimen, quite large, and fluttered off with great energy. Brigitte’s naming strategy, by contrast—drawn from Greek and Roman culture—and their latterday operatic re-celebrations—caused me to have to look up who Dido actually was, and this despite having dipped a little into Virgil’s Aenead. A dip is all it has turned out to be and may remain so. I’m coming around to the view that butterflies may be on a culturally much more exalted level then the Greeks and Romans were. As for Aeneas, he is still in his chrysalis and will be the last to go.

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