They are named for the melting colors that cover them in rivulets as sweet and rich as butter.  Wayward and exotic shades that do not match, patterns that create countries of velvety hallucinations cling to their apprehensive wings.

The Many Eyes Have It

They are the living prisms that cascade through the air.  They create the same tinted, religious light that warms a cathedral’s cold, medieval charm.

Their flight is aberrant and ungraceful, tracing invisible filigrees in the air.  To watch them is to hear as well – the low and frantic breaths of a creature that only wishes to be still.  Delicate and exhausted, the pain of mathematical flight’s strict symmetry is unbearable.

At rest, however, they seem to bloom. 

Dark Sprite

The DNA that once hid in eggs, that once crawled, that once slept in glass-like birthing houses now stretched into capricious wings like coiling fingers.  Wings are dual winter landscapes:  covered with a colored frost that melts on our fingers.

Mourning or Morning

 Some migrate; twisting like petals in the breeze. They travel for no reason other than the incessant whisper of instinct; a temptation to leave made irresistible by the sight of a horizon, the whirring of their blood that nags and insists.  This ancestral pull will carry them beyond mountains and oceans; over shifting atmospheres.   

King of Travelers

Soft Balance


The air is soft and respectful, holding the dainty populations in its towering columns.

I once found a butterfly drowning in a pool of rainwater.  I picked it up gently, and placed it on a bush.  I watched it just as gently, and saw it spread its wings, exposing them to the cold, dry air.  I left it to its ministrations, but looked back once, to see the tiny daub of color showing amongst the leafy shadows.  I saw the dainty handkerchief waving back at me in gratitude and farewell.


13 responses to “Melting

  1. Hi,
    Absolutely wonderful words, and the pictures are really nice. I love seeing butterfly’s in the garden, they just to bring the plants to life somehow. Thanks again for a great read.

  2. Did you take these photos, Aubrey? They’re exquisite. As is your writing. And butterflies.

  3. magsx2 – Very true! Sometimes when I see one, I’ll somewhat foolishly extend my hand, hoping it might land on my finger – mistaking it for a flower – and take a rest.

    JP – I would like to say that these photos were taken in the wild, but actually they were taken at the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum. I took some of the photos, Boyfriend took the rest. We only had one camera between us and were constantly grabbing it out of the hands of the other when an exceptionally fine aspect presented itself.

    LT – [thank you]

  4. Oh, butterflies – how I miss them.

  5. mmmm…this was a lovely whirl through the air, with some rest on flowers – blooms upon blooms….and a fine fine last line…” I saw the dainty handkerchief….” that’s rich. Love that last image especially.

  6. What beautiful writing! Your words convey perfectly the loveliness of the object. I especially liked the image of butterflies breathing frantically and the idea that “the pain of mathematical flight’s strict symmetry is unbearable.”

  7. You draw me in so quickly with your poetic and imaginative descriptions and similies. My goodness: “…melting colors…”, “velvety hallucinations”, the soft and respectful air…those blossoms of vision mentioned above…I could go on and on. Beautiful, poetic, inspired and inspiring writing accompanied by sweet and lovely images. An absolutely transporting read, Aubrey. Thank you.

  8. There was a magical time once when I was a child when there was an unexpected, huge butterfly migration. For two days, the air was full of nothing but butterflies. It was like a fairy tale.

  9. Aubrey: amazing images! “I once found a butterfly drowing in a pool of water” … I feel a poem coming on…. RT

  10. Barbara Rodgers

    Your words are so poetic, Aubrey, you paint such lovely stories with them. How wonderful the butterfly you saved thanked you and said goodbye – sometimes the universe reminds us that everything matters…

  11. The photos are gorgeous Aubrey – I’m smiling at the image of you and the boyfriend grabbing the camera from each other.

  12. Charming post! Interesting how tiniest things that never cross our minds can be so compelling in nature.

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