When Things Fall Apart

Winnipeg sunrise
August Sunrise east of Winnipeg

My Dilemma

The dismissal caught me very much by surprise. One day I was a slave to the computer working long hours to make enough money to support my sojourn through Canada; and then without much notice I was minus my main source of income. Without any substantial resources at my disposal,  I had to use my wits to get throught the crisis. The fact that my financial difficulties were a result of my failing to  heed a whole bunch of warning signs was now immaterial; I had to resort to a different strategy in order to survive.

The Long  Walk

The first thing to go was my 30 dollar a night bed in the Winnipeg hostel. I felt kind of strange, when I left my place-to-stay at 5 pm and started walking without any solid destination. Fortunately, it was a warm August night so I walked out of the city and found a place to sleep east of the city. Here, is the scene that greeted me the next morning as the sun rose across the Manitoba prairie. In some ways my misfortune had a silver lining, for I was now able to make pictures that I would have ever have attempted. I learned that being in the right place at the right time is often essential to a good photographic image.

Roadside butterfly
Colorful butterfly left along the side of the highway nby high-speed traffic

The Way Back Home

My first day on the road, I walked all day long. I was total oblivious about trying to obtain a ride, I just wanted to figure a way out of this mess; and the best way to do that was by walking. Even despite my solitary frame of mind, two kind souls stopped their vehicles. In both cases, I accepted the offer; and in the second situation, I obtained a ride to a nearby town, where I could acquire some much-needed water, as the prairie sun had turned the day into a real scorcher.


Walking along the side of the road gave me ample time to observe things I would never have noticed – like this roadside butterfly. It is also gave me a chance to ponder my situation. Eventually, my walking decreased and I started to stick out my thumb in order to hasten my journey south. I learned about the kindness of strangers, as I occassionally received gits in the form of food, supplies and on one occasion – money. My journey eventually took me across the border and into Minnesota, where I found temporary shelter for several weeks and work.

Second View
Another view of the Manitoba prairie

Roadside Butterflies

Monarch Butterfly By the side of the Road
Monarch Butterfly By the side of the Road

Unexpected Delay

My journey took an unexpected delay, when I found out there was no bus service from Winnipeg to Minnesota. My response was to hoof it. This took a quite a long time because I decided on a rather untraveled route that lead Southeast to the American town, called Warroad and the nearby Lake of the Woods. The one benefit of this lengthy journal, was that I had lots of time to examine things left along the side of the road. It was remarkable how you could sense the presence of a nearby town by the great increase in of certain types garbage such as beer cans, soft drink bottles, coffee containers and plastic wrappers. And then the opposite effect would occur, as you passed through town and headed back for the wide-open rural spaces. And sometimes vehicular traffic has the habit of creating its own objects at the edge of the highway.

Common sulphur butterfly of Minnesota
Common sulphur butterfly of Minnesota

Roadkill Insects

There is a lot of beauty and tragedy expressed by these flying insects that lie motionless along the side of the road. Though I doubt they amount to a significant portion of the butterfly population, it still seems a loss to find just one of these flying beauties sitting on the road shoulder. The marvelous little insects seem frozen in time, for their delicate bodies are so well preserved. Most likely these insects are not the result of a direct collision, but instead, they were probably overwhelmed by the heady winds created by larger vehicles. In fact, quite a few could be seen still fluttering the wings and very much alive, but unable to fly.

The Arctic Fritillary
The Arctic Fritillary is associated with the peat boglands of extreme northern Minnesota

Different Varieties

Interesting species such as this arctic butterfly dwell in the bog areas of Northern Minnesota. Here, just south of the border this colorful Lepidotera is at the very southern limit of the range. Still the northernedge of this state sits very near the Great Plains and the northern birch-maple woods, so the diversity of habitats is significant. Pictured below is a butterfly of unknown identification.

Another roadside butterfly
Another roadside butterfly