Butterfly Clouds and Spring Fever

Updated on March 12, 2017
Luke Holm profile image

Luke works as a middle school English, ELD, social justice, and mindfulness teacher in the sanctuary city, San Jose, CA.

Source

Preface

They came in droves. Seemingly innocent and radiantly beautiful with their auburn highlighted wings that shimmered flecks of gold and bronze in the sunlight. No one knew why they came. They just did.

Source

Calm Before the Storm

I remember sitting on a summer swing looking out across the lush valley grass that hadn’t yet tasted the afternoon shadows of the Tula Vista Mountains. The air was warm and Camper and I sat listen’ to the wind gently brush through the trees, rattling the newborn leaves and sending a sound like running water across the air. At the time, neither of us had a single care in the world and all was fine.

Source

Looming Clouds

Camper sprung up out of nowhere, with his ears perked toward the east. I looked as far as my eyes would let me see, but could find nothing alarming to settle upon. I sat back down and told him to quiet his old bones before he gave himself a heart attack. Settling into my chair, I realized that the air had cooled a bit and took on a rough, stagnant smell.

Camper continued his stare and started barking like the cows done come home. This time I looked and saw a wide cloud arch over the highest peak of Tula. I was still ignorant at the time and supposed that we were ‘bout to get some rain. I even told Camper so myself. I said, “Doggonit, Camper, calm yourself. We could use some rain ‘round here. It’s not like we’ve had some all season yet.”

Source

Incoming Danger

The more I looked at the incoming cloud, though, I could tell something was off. It was moving too darn fast to be a cloud comin’ over the mountain. They typically stayed near the top and trickled outward later during the storm. As it grew nearer, I saw that it was somethin’ like a swarm of locusts. I hollered at Camper to get inside and I moved stiffly into the house through the patio door. Aside from whinin’ a bit, Camper kept quiet. I could tell he was as scared as I was.

Source

Butterfly Invasion

Within a minute or two, the whole house sounded like it was being sucked up by a tornado. The room went dark and shook in its old foundation. Every now and then a ray of light would sneak through the barrage and I would catch a glimpse of what looked like tiny brown wings flittin’ outside my window. I yelled to Camper, “Damn it old boy, I think we’re bein’ invaded by butterflies!” A billion bangs clanged against my window panes as they bumped off the sides of each other and right into my house. Camper ran into the basement and since it was already dark as night, I was inclined to follow him.

We bunkered down there for ‘bout an hour or so, until I couldn’t hear the chaos upstairs no more. When I opened the basement door and looked out a dusty window, my eyes met me with a mighty strange treat. All around me, like a blanket of brown snow was the pixy dust right off them butterfly’s wings. The air was covered in it too, like a great dust bowl done come out the sky and poured its emptiness all over us.

Source

News Report: Seek Shelter

I creaked into the living room and turned on the television to see what I could see. There on the news, a lady was reporting that vast swarms of caramel colored butterflies where sweeping the nation without cause. No one knew where they were coming from, but everyone could tell where they had been due to tiny filaments of their wings shed all over any place they flew. She said to stay indoors and not breathe in the particles as they might congest the lungs or create even worse symptoms.

I wondered about my neighbor Ned, who had been in the process of re-tinning his roof. I felt like it was my job as a good neighbor to go check on him and see if he was alright. I told Camper to get back down into the basement and be quiet until I returned. I found a pair of thick woodcutter’s goggles and an old face mask that hadn’t been used in twenty years. I put them on and wrapped a sweater or two around my face for good measure.

Source

Aftermath

Outside, the world was shimmerin’ in the light. It was, at the same time, the most beautiful and ghastly thing I ever did see. The ground was an inch thick with the dust and I could see my footsteps just like in the winter. Ned’s was about a mile down the street, which was nearly impossible to distinguish, but I knew the road and made my way as best as I could.

Source

Casualties

When finally got there, I saw poor Ned lyin’ out by his truck. Shufflin’ up to him, I called out in a muffled tone. “Ned, are you alive old friend?” I hesitated. I had never seen a dead person outside a casket before, but I continued with my neighborly duty. When I got closer, it looked like he was breathin’ and he turned to look at me.

I said, “Damn it, Ned, you look god awful. Did you get caught in that mess?” He didn’t respond. Already, his face was a pale white and he was sweatin’ profusely out his skull. I ran inside his house and called an ambulance, but I knew that it would take awhile for it to arrive. I poured Ned a glass of water, but he couldn’t drink it when I brought it out to him. It was real sad to see him just lyin’ there. He didn’t last much longer. I got a ride back with the paramedics.

Source

Spring Fever

I later found out that Ned had gotten what they called the “Spring Fever”. Lots of people got it that year, if they came into contact with that god-awful pixie dust. I’ll never forget that day, nor those beautiful, damned butterflies.

Source

Monarch Migration

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 JourneyHolm

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Luke Holm profile imageAUTHOR

        JourneyHolm 

        18 months ago

        John, I am truly amazed at the overwhelming amount of butterflies during their annual migrations. Did you ever get a picture of them? I would love to see. I'm glad the pixie dust isn't a real thing, as I wouldn't want anyone to get hurt from such a beautiful sight. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      • Luke Holm profile imageAUTHOR

        JourneyHolm 

        18 months ago

        Chris, I too would love a dog like Camper! He seems like a good boy who knows how to protect his older master. I enjoyed playing with the accent. I'm glad it came across as genuine and not overly done. Thank you for reading!

      • Luke Holm profile imageAUTHOR

        JourneyHolm 

        18 months ago

        Sakina, thanks for reading! Just a note, Spring Fever is a fictitious disease I made up for this fictitious story. Although he met a sad ending, Ned was not a real person...in our dimension and reality, at least. Thanks again :) I'm glad you enjoyed the story!

      • SakinaNasir53 profile image

        Sakina Nasir 

        18 months ago from Kuwait

        Woah! Never knew about Spring fever. Thanks for sharing this Luke. :) Love the pictures too. I feel sad for your friend though...

      • cam8510 profile image

        Chris Mills 

        18 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        A very enjoyable story, frightening to think that something so beautiful could also deliver death. The country accent was just right and I want a dog like Camper.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        18 months ago from Queensland Australia

        This wasn enjoyable read, Luke. I can relate to the story as we had a butterfly infestation late last year. Swarms of brown butterflies followed by black and white ones. It lasted for around three days, and I had never experienced anything like it before. No pixie dust though, fortunately. (In the capsule titled "butterfly invasion you wrote "hole house", I think it should be "whole house.")

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://letterpile.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)