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An Ode to a Butterfly
Free. That’s what I was.
Fragrances. They were so beautiful.
Husky. Inviting. Promises. They whispered to me.
When I first woke up, I saw the sun. I grew afraid of its strength. I found its power mesmerizing. I crawled on to something green. Luscious. My mouth stared to water.
Why? What are you? I prodded it with my foot. It doesn’t move. I smell it. Something tingles inside me. I open my mouth and take a bite. Delicious. Crunchy. More. More.
Soon I can’t eat. Enough. I drift off.
But I’m distracted. Something is flying. Towards me. Brilliant. So colorful. Elegant. My heart is full. I close my eyes.
Something wakes me. The heat. Why is it so hot? I panic.
I can’t move. I try to scream. I try to beat my way out. But I’m trapped in this……. Cocoon. What am I to do here? I’m hungry. Green. So far away.
I cry. I’m lonely. So lonely. Who did this? I have to fight, to leave. They can’t kill me….I will survive. I shake myself. Harder, harder. But I’m stuck. I try to tear myself out. I…..can’t. My strength is waning. I can’t leave…… I drift away.
A hole. I can see a hole. It pierces my darkness. I can feel the sun. So bright.
I reach out. I try to tear it further. It gives away. Easily. Too easily?
Where am I?
Home! I can see green again. But wait I can’t feel the tingling. No hunger. What have they done to me?
The sun. It mocks me. What do I do now?
A new smell. So powerful. I want to follow it. But how?
I’m drawn in. I have to follow…… I NEED to follow. I walk across the green. I’m so tempted. I don’t notice the edge. I topple off! No!.....I can’t feel my legs! I’m falling, falling.
What is this behind me? It moves! I’m being swept away!
Wait a minute..I can fly! What are those joyous things? Far and wide! I can hear songs. I can feel the wind. Ecstasy. Free….. I’m free. The smell, the temptation. I follow it. I see a color. So bright. I land on it. Thirst. An unbearable thirst. Need to drink. I lead my mouth to the tip. My first sip. So sweet, so addictive. I drink my heart’s content. So peaceful.
I fly away. Free…. I’m free. I sway from all the colors. I twirl. Into the sky.
That was days ago. I’m weakening. I’m trapped. Just minutes away. I can’t move. I was lured into this…. Fake reality. I can see the flowers in a distance. I can smell them. But I’m blocked by this invisible barrier. My eggs. My precious eggs. I won’t be there for them. What is this curse?
I feel something behind me as my strength drains. To nothing. I’m lifted. I pray…I leave the rest to higher powers. I look up. Into eyes…strange eyes. So big. So blue. They reflect my fear. Who do they belong to?
I fall into the blackness.
I rub my hands on my apron. My face is dusted with flour, and my hair is filled with flecks of powder. The sweet smell of new bread tickles my nose and I smile at the mess my kitchen is in.
My maid is going to throw a fit, I thought.
I admire the field out of the window, swirling in whites, reds and greens. Memories that threaten to seize me in their hardened embrace caress the back of my mind. Hope and longing so old clings to me.
‘Mommy! Mommy look what I found’ My daughter’s shriek brings me back to earth with a thud.
A fluttering butterfly, beautiful, fragile and fast weakening lies in her tiny palms. I looked at her pale anguished face and realized she thought it was dead already. I find the contrast of her pale skin to the transparent blue dusty wings oddly revealing.
‘Where did you find it?’
‘Lying next to the window.’ Her eyes sparkled with unshed tears.
I put an arm around my five-year-old, gazing into her eyes.
‘Don’t worry we’ll try to help the butterfly, dear.’ I said wiping her cheeks which were now streaked with tears.
I took her outside and we collected a few flowers in a basket. I strung them in a honey coated thread. Then placing the butterfly lightly into it I sprinkled water on it.
I let out a deep sigh when it fluttered it’s right wing. My daughter was joyous.
But it was weak. I might have been too late.
That night I told my daughter a tale about a land filled with butterflies. Where butterfly dust put people to sleep and how their iridescent brightness light up the sky every morning. I told her about how butterflies were God’s private favourite and how their complete metamorphosis was a sign of magic intertwined within science.
I shut the door of her room that night leaving her dreaming about the light-winged delicate creatures. When I crept into the hall to check on the little butterfly, my mind slipped into worlds other than our own. When nature was cherished, where every dying butterfly’s soul was changed into a star to live on forever.
I took in the delicate markings by the side of the wings, marveling at the fragility and beauty of the blue and silver winged butterfly. I wondered whether the butterfly was a mother like I was and whether it’s children were out there searching for her.
The next day when I rushed down to see our little guest, I realized she was gone from this world. The frail body lay lifeless on the tiny garden of flowers. The wings never moved again.
‘Simple are the lives that affect us,
Insignificant they may seem:
But within every soul and every breath
Lies a hidden dream.
A life is not wasted
It’s price is too much to understand
But you my little butterfly
Will live forever, in our hearts and in forgotten lands.’
Smith's blue butterfly, Euphilotes enoptes smithi, is an organism in the family Lycaenidae, which is also known as the "gossamer wing" family. This federally listed endangered species occurs in fragmented populations along the Central Coast of California, primarily associated with sand dune habitat in one case with a dune-based Maritime Coast Range Ponderosa Pine forest in the Carbonera Creek watershed in Santa Cruz County. The range of E. enoptes is from Monterey Bay south to Punta Gorda. They live in sand dunes and grassland areas. This endangered species is slipping away and we’re doing nothing to stop it. We don’t want to try, because we’re too afraid of failure.
It doesn’t hurt to try, we owe the world that much at least. A mere butterfly stakes a species in this planet earth.
But nothing is ‘mere’ anymore.
Man is imperfect. The reality he creates is always endangered by man. But one step at a time and we can make it. A teardrop of hope creates waves, but we need to shed that one to start anything.
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My candle burns on both ends,
It will not last the night;
But Ah! my foes and Oh! my friends it gives a lovely light.
Something connects us to the animal world whether we like it or not. I mean, a myriad movies/stories/documentaries show humans understanding an animal's thoughts. I thought why not take that a step further :)
Wow. Very deep.
I love it. Especially the butterfly's view point. Some thing eerily true about it.