Our yard is blessed each year to be frequented by beautiful western tiger swallowtail butterflies. Magnificent specimens who flit, dart, and dodge around and through the spring and summer air in search of nectar. The big bougainvillea beneath one of our backyard palms is a regular stop on their journeys, but they rarely light upon its blossoms for long.

This morning, while feeding the tortoise, I looked up precisely as one flew directly over my head. But it was decidedly less energized than usual. Instead of quickly flapping its wings, they were spread wide and held still allowing it to drift slowly past me on whatever current of air was available up there. As it floated to the bougainvillea and out of sight, I was able to see some of the vibrancy and contrast gone from its distinctive yellow and black wings.

I knew what it meant. That its cycle of life was drawing to a close. Maybe not today. Maybe not next week. But sometime soon.

And I stopped what I was doing at the tortoise hutch, sat back on the pony wall behind me and said goodbye.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."