Sunday, March 07, 2010

Pnin in California

Dave Lull passes along this heartening Los Angeles Times story about the release of 80 endangered Palos Verdes blue butterflies into the wild. The insects were bred in captivity. Like many of the blues, this species keeps to a narrow menu -- locoweed and deerweed. The writer notes:

“The instant they were let out of their clear plastic cups, many of the butterflies opted first for food. They fluttered to the nearest sunflower shrub, uncurled their tiny snouts and started sucking up nectar from the yellow blossoms.”

Naturally I thought of that glorious passage from Pnin I’ve cited before:

“A score of small butterflies, all of one kind, were settled on a damp patch of sand, their wings erect and closed, showing their pale undersides with dark dots and tiny orange-rimmed peacock spots along the hindwing margins; one of Pnin’s shed rubbers disturbed some of them and, revealing the celestial hue of their upper surface, they fluttered around like blue snowflakes before settling again.”

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