The Butterfly I Found

If I hadn’t been observing the ripples and tiny colors in the sand so intently, I would have missed this living cameo, tucked like a golden intaglio in the silica dunes roaming at my feet.

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It was startling to see such an array of brightness and design – interlocking like panes of Chartres glass – so obviously alive yet so still as to give the impression that in all likelihood this fluttering illustration was dead.  The blue eyes, arranged at its edges like a scallop’s, were wide awake and unblinking:  an optic nerve that ran along its border, black-edged like a Victorian mourning card.

I knelt close to it, breathing lightly so as not to disturb the frosting on its wings, spun like stars frozen into the sky.  It was so still and foolish – foolish to think that it could hide behind its static brilliance.  It was as veiled as a sunset.

Within its off-kilter symmetry and cursive silhouette lay a history of art – Beardsley’s line, William Morris’ wallpaper, Klimt’s gold ingots; even Charles Worth’s gowns, ripe with the stirrings of Art Nouveau.

I watched the play of line and color; the rippling of pattern dancing like a silent ballet across its back.  Until I saw the antennae – curling and extending like frantic grace notes, trying to make sense of its cold, unwanted surroundings.

I am not one to leave stranded jewelry unclaimed, but this I left to its recovery:  a bauble that would live to decorate once more the vast and austere sky.

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5 responses to “The Butterfly I Found

  1. a magical encounter, beautifully described.

  2. It takes so little warmth to set free such a gem, and much sensitivity and patience to allow the process to work itself out. Hooray for you — for seeing past appearances.

  3. fifepsychogeography – it was such a perfect little thing; I wish it well.

    shoreacres – I was so relieved to see its dancing antennae; stunned by the chill of the morning, I knew that the eventual sun would draw it up into the air. I longed to watch its freedom, but thought it best that it should ‘work itself out’.

  4. Miracles everywhere we look!
    Thank you for being one of them, Aubs.

  5. Lauri – thank you: that makes me feel all sparkly and special! And yes, miracles are lurking everywhere – be sure to keep your eyes open!

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