Topic: "Caterpillar Quandry" (3)
Frodo's penchant for wildflowers has been frequently documented. It may have started when he became aware of the fact that certain wildflowers were targeted by certain butterflies, and that he could manage the presence of butterflies in the gardens of the Shire. "Passion flowers" are a particular favorite of the Hobbit, and the bright orange "Frittalaria" are the butterflies that flock to this year's record production of the purple and white flowers. A cacophony of color and movement needs only a little background music to produce something almostly reminiscently psychedelic in the afternoon sunshine.
Moments like this give rise to questions so far unanswered. What happens to butterflies in the winter? Frodo is cognizant of the fact that caterpillars now munching on the passion flower leaves will roll up into a cigar-like construction and thereby produce a hatchling butterfly. The butterfly will feed from the nectar produced by the the passion flowers, and then they disappear. Monarch butterflies, we know, migrate to some place in Mexico, although it will take them four or five generations each way. But what about Frodo's Frittalaria, or his Swallowtail? Are they simply sunning themselves on some beach in nearby Florida?
Mr. Beau Neau, the denizen of the Shire, has taken a special interest in the fluttering movements above his head. On more than one occasion, Sam has found a "gift" inside the dog door, and butterfly wings have been included among these trophies. Frodo's angered gaze does not go unnoticed, and the would-be hunter turns away, seemingly offended that he would be observed doing anything so trivial. Perhaps Frodo has taken one small step to protect the balance of nature, hopefully it will yield further charms in the gardens of the Shire in years to come.
Thoughts such as these are common when, at last, the heat breaks and the windows are left open all night long.