Day seven of the twelve images over twelve days, one photo from each of the months in 2016 – Happy New Year to you, by the way (I’m writing this on the 1st of January 2017)
We have a number of buddleia bushes in our garden. Most of them produce these amazing purple flowers (one produces white flowers) which butterflies and hummingbird moths just love. I like to sit close to these bushes where I am surrounded by dozens of these beautiful creatures. The wings of the hummingbird moths are so fast that they emit a deep buzzing sound so you know when they are around, but the butterflies are completely silent.
I can watch them for ages. I love to see them up close like in this photo. You can see them delicately slipping a long proboscis into the centre of each little flower. They are so quick and so accurate. And of course their wings are painted so gloriously.
The butterflies stimulate two trains of thought for me – unpredictability and change.
I’ve tried to see if they work around a bush in any kind of methodical way but I can’t see that they do. Every move seems totally random. They’ll be selecting one little flower after another to explore, then suddenly they fly off into the air, zigzagging around, up, down, left and right, then might settle again on the exact same flower they had just left, check out a different part of the bush or fly off to a neighbouring bush. There’s just no telling where they are going to go next. Their whole movement seems to embody randomness. It’s quite something.
Then if you stop to think about how the butterfly you can see is only one stage in a cycle of astonishingly different forms you realise very quickly why they are the symbols of metamorphosis and change. From egg, to larvae (caterpillar), to pupae (chrysalis) and the beautifully winged creature. A life of the most incredible phases and changes. As far as I know nobody has managed to explain how this cycle of change came about. We change throughout our whole lives, and our bodies change a lot, but not as much as these butterflies. Maybe our most astonishing changes are on the inside – our psyche and and our spirit?
Then when I get thinking about these butterflies and wonder where they go when the buddleia are not in bloom I find that many of them are migratory, traveling between Africa and Europe, cycling back and forth between very specific locations. How do they do that? How do they find their way over hundreds, no thousands, of miles? But wait, it’s even more amazing, because for some of them the journey is long it takes several generations of them to complete it. Now how do they do that? How does the great great grandchild of the butterfly which left my garden find its way back to my garden when its parents and grandparents had never ever lived here?
So, here’s what the butterfly in this photo is the symbol of for me – curiosity and the unfathomable depths of our human lack of knowledge and understanding?
So much to learn, so much to discover, so much to understand.