Friday, December 16, 2005

two legs of a butterfly's wings

butterflies combine the poetry and physical elegance of birds, which they are not, with the surprising, alien appearance of the insects they truly are. the vulnerable delicacy of their wings is masked by the bright colors and strong patterns so many of them carry -- we are fooled to think they are sturdy creatures.

when "born," a butterfly emerges wet, weak, and folded, leaving behind a thin, mysterious, rust-colored exudate and a dry, empty chrysalis. it takes time for the wings to open and dry and for flight to be possible. there seems to be no learning curve, though.

what does it mean that moths and butterflies are not the same? what does it mean that butterflies are coming to us now, in winter, brushing their feathery selves against our cheeks in the dead of night, landing in our bellies and tickling us there with their precise and sensitive black feet? what does it mean that we are beginning to identify with the lepidopterist's trophy pose, pinning and mounting, right through the vital parts, displaying nature's ways for all to see? pin we.


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