A friendship built and formed over running is a special one indeed. It has been layered over time, run by run and conversation by conversation. Until one day on reflection, you suddenly realise how deep that friendship goes.
It is a gradual building of trust, a trust earned over many kilometers shared and endured together. Conversations that vary in depth and mood just as the terrain may vary in the actual run. From light hearted chit chat to intense discussions. From giggles and shrieks of laughter to tender and vulnerable confidences. Even when one of you is not in the mood to talk, the company is comforting and understood, never awkward.
There have been many shared vistas and views, interesting and beautiful finds whilst sharing trail runs with my running friends over the years. Above all of these there is one particular early morning, late Autumn trail run, that stands out for me.
My friend Jenny and I had run to the top of Mpati mountain and we were making our way down through the valley. The path for quite a way is merely a cattle path, quite rocky and technical. It is scenic and interesting however, criss- crossing a stream in places. About halfway down the valley the path leads to a rickety small bridge. This has been made from a few planks nailed together. Once crossed it leads onto a man made mountain biking path for a little while.
It was as we stepped onto the bridge, Jenny leading the way, that a cloud of what seemed like a hundred or more royal blue and black butterflies fluttered up serenely from underneath it. Needless to say we stopped dead in our tracks to stare – gob smacked, at this unusual and beautiful phenomenon.
Not knowing too much about our local butterflies, I scoured the net hoping to ID our fluttery friends from that mornings run. They seem to fit the description of ‘Pecis Octavia’, or otherwise – ‘gaudy commodores’. They are in no way ‘gaudy’ – they are beautiful!
I was fascinated to learn that these butterflies have two distinctive seasonal forms. In Summer they are predominately orange, whilst in Winter they are blue and black, sometimes displaying a little orange. Steve Woodal writes in ‘What butterflies can be found where when and how’ – “The blue Winter Sesamus is found skulking low down along stream banks, caves and hollows.”
Well, ‘skulking’ or not, the site of these beauties floating up from under the bridge was dreamy and ethereal. A surreal and special treat to be shared with a special friend.
These butterflies are fairly common throughout Sub – Saharan Africa. I quite enjoyed this depiction of both the Winter and Summer form displayed on this Ugandan stamp.
Below is the link to another blog article I rather enjoyed, it gives quite a bit of information about the gaudy commodores and the photographs are stunning. It is by ‘Nature back in’