Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What A Butterfly Whispers

These days when I water the plants, a little cloud of butterflies bursts upon me and hovers around for a while. Then it vanishes and reappears when I put the sarees out to dry. Butterflies sometimes perch on the sarees; they seem to enjoy basking in the sun and drawing a little moisture from the cloth. A few days ago, as I stretched out my hand to hang a towel on the clothesline, a butterfly promptly came up and settled itself on my towel-covered hand. It was quite an incredible feeling and I waited, wondering if it would soon fly away. It didn't. It sat there, opened and closed its wings, sucked at the towel and seemed very comfortable with life in general. My hand was beginning to ache, I moved it a little and the butterfly fluttered off.

I read once that certain Native American tribes feel that there is a close link between women and butterflies, that butterflies often come around the women to talk to them. I liked this thought and it has been with me ever since. I often stand in the garden, waiting for them to stop circling and settle down so I can hear what they have to say. What might they talk about? I like to think that it would be a gentle, whispered exchange - an exchange I would have to pay close attention to lest I miss something, something beautiful that floats upon the breeze and is caught up by the sighing of the trees and the rustling of the bamboo in my garden. I used to think it might be a conversation about the pleasure of drifting through air currents or basking in the sun on cold days or perhaps just letting off some steam against all the predators of the world!

But standing there, with this creature so close and so apparently fearless, I thought it was telling me about the wonder of nature, the phenomenon that each creature, however fragile it appears, has its own place in the world - a place they can occupy with a calm certainty and sense of belonging.

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