My 9-5 takes me to Sun Prairie every day, a city only a few miles from Madison that is changing from a small farming community to a suburb of Madison. In the three years I’ve worked here, the freeway has added two exits, they have opened two new schools, and I’ve watched more subdivisions sprout from farmer’s fields than crops. Still, on a day that I take the back roads into work, I pass a llama farm, a few horse farms, a herd of dairy cattle, and acres of soy and corn fields. There is a park across from my office, Sheehan Park, where I take walks and see the occasional deer or snake. The public library, one of my favorite places, is also in this park.
At this time of year, the animals in the park are doing what they can to prepare for winter. For some of them, like these tiny white butterflies I see, this means making a last attempt to find a suitable mate and reproduce. They won’t make it through winter, but their eggs might. Here is a poemish (not quite a poem) I wrote last year, watching the butterflies in their desperate, last minute search.
hundreds of white butterflies
flutter from the
the female hides in
the grass, the male hovers low,
searching for her. if finds she
is not The One,
he moves on the next.
the air is cold,
the autumn sun
warms their wings
pursuit of eternity
Today, I am grateful for Sheehan Park in Sun Prairie, WI and the respite it provides during the work day.