SOUTH SHORE YMCA NATURAL SCIENCE CENTER

Cloak, not Winter Jacket

Posted: Mar. 27, 2013

Mourning Cloak

That’s an important distinction to be made. For cloaks are lighter, the type of gear one might wear not in winter, but in spring.

Mourning Cloak butterflies are seen around the world, and their various names in northern European languages tend to all translate to the same theme. In Massachusetts, they’re a sign of spring; when the hibernators emerge, we can surmise that their internal calendars, in tune to the earth in ways we can never fully understand, have told them that spring is near. For how many cultures, then, is the appearance of the first Mourning Cloak of the season a happy sign of release from winter?

In any case, it was a sign we read just this morning – March 27, 2013, less than a week past the spring equinox – right here in Norwell. This beautiful adult soaked up the sun in a local cemetery, peacefully posing while the photographer moved ever closer.

Ah, spring…