Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sun and Butterflies

St Kitts Chapel

St Kitts is very different from Tortola.  It is much bigger for one thing. (Check them both out on Google Earth.)  The mountains are much higher, but they are not obstacles that we must overcome every day.  There is enough relatively flat land here that the mountains, really inactive volcanoes, are more a part of the scenery than a part of the experience.  We live on the Atlantic side of the island.  

One of the strange things about living in the tropics, between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, is that the sun is actually in the northern sky for a good part of the summer.  On June 21 it will reach its northernmost point and begin the journey to the south.  There is a point on the journey when the sun passes directly overhead at noon.  From then on until it crosses that point on the return trip the sun is in the northern sky.  My brain sees the sun in the sky and thinks that is south because all points in the continental US are north of the Tropic of Cancer so the sun is always in the south sky, just higher or lower according to summer or winter.  With the sun in the north sky my head thinks sunrise is in the west because my head thinks the sun tracks in the south sky.  That means the sun comes up in the west, which it does not of course.  I had the same problem as a missionary in southern Africa, and when we went to Australia to visit Juli and Shon two years ago.  It just adds to my disorientation.

There is constant breeze from the east here.  The trade winds blew Columbus and the other early explorers across the Atlantic, right into these islands.  One the one hand it is a little oppressive because it never stops, but the upside is that the breeze keeps the temperature and the humidity manageable.  Moving air always feels cooler than stagnant air.  All day we have two doors open in the apartment and there is a nice flow of air through those doors.  At night we close everything up, as directed by our landlady who lives upstairs (also the branch RSP), so we then turn on the AC and the ceiling fan to keep things manageable.  It is actually quite comfortable in our sleeping room at night.

We have monarch butterflies here.  Seeing them is like seeing an old friend.  When I am out walking I am always looking for signs of a larva eating the milkweed leaves.  The weed here is a little different from the variety in Southern Idaho, but it is apparently close enough that the proper metabolic process takes place to perpetuate the species.  We have one chrysalis hanging up right now 
and another worm is chowing on some leaves in our “wormarium.”  

Helping the Local Monarch Population

I am sure I will find more over the coming days.  There is just one long growing season here, but maybe these butterflies also migrate somewhere.  The ones in our Great Basin go to Mexico for the winter, but a few years ago there was a disastrous cold spell in the mountains where they go and the population has not recovered.  That is one reason I am so glad to see them here.  

The font.  Not as good as Long Bay, but it will do.  We had a baptism yesterday.

St Kitts chapel with the chairs put away.

Mangoes.  Boy, are they good!

We hold priesthood meeting under this mango tree.

RS room/kitchen/font room

1 comment:

  1. I love your sweet little chapel! And seeing the monarch caterpillars reminds me of your dad! How awesome that you both like to grow butterflies. They don't make it this far north.