Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for October 2nd, 2012

William Blake comes to Great Hills Park again

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Click for greater clarity.

O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

—William Blake
Songs of Innocence and Experience

Okay, so this wasn’t a rose but a Texas thistle, Cirsium texanum. On it was a caterpillar rather than a worm. The time was day and not night, and although there were clouds there was no howling storm. The color of the flower wasn’t crimson but pale pink. I’m sure you’ll grant me poetic license and overlook those little discrepancies. The fact remains that the caterpillar had curled itself over the top of this thistle and had eaten its way into the dark secret interior of the bud and destroyed at least a part of its life. I don’t know what kind of caterpillar it was*, whether it was still alive, or what those tiny dark bundles on the green bracts of the thistle were. I do know that the date was May 2—five months ago today—and the place Great Hills Park in my northwest Austin neighborhood; this was the same productive walk that led to a picture of a green anole displaying its dewlap and a spider in a funnel web beneath its cast-off exoskeleton.


* The caterpillar looks like it might be a pale specimen of Heliothis virescens, the tobacco budworm moth, which is found in Austin.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 2, 2012 at 6:08 AM

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