Butterflies were splotches of motion and color,
but they didn't get anything but blinks or giggles.
When I was a boy,
Butterflies were for girls, except for the ones in 'Alice in Wonderland';
those were cool. Bread and butter flies.
Oh! And the troubadour butterfly from 'The Last Unicorn'.
When I was a kid,
Butterflies became an analogy for life - metamorphosis;
ugliness in to beauty, death and rebirth, gasoline and tar rings.
Sometimes, I squashed gypsy moth caterpillars under my sneakers
during the summer infestations. There were always more.
When I was a youngster,
Butterflies were things of school projects. Mason jars and maple leaves,
crayola, paper mache, and plastecine told the story
of cannibalistic siblings, long flights from Mexico,
eggs, and the chrysalis vs. the coocoon.
In my head, David Attenborough was always narrating.
When I was a youth,
Butterflies were the power of women. Sex and sensuality,
in a multicolored whirl of wind and wonder.
The lightest caress of wingtips and lips,
the glitter powder smudge of close embrace..
Bright colors and soft skin
fragility and beauty wrapped in an impermanent shrine.
Now that I am a man,
I realize that Butterflies are dream powdered concentrate
of yesterday's memories, women, and science projects. Their wing beat meter
finds a voice in the words flitting through my head.
A field of yellow flowers swaying in the breeze of sun-kissed August afternoon.
August is when the Monarchs lord over nectar, pollen, and the simple peon Whites,
while nearby swallows sing dirges and snack prodigiously.
I was such a jester then.
When I have children of my own,
Butterflies will have a place. They will be laughter and science
Last Unicorns and Lewis Carrols,
summer afternoons and songbirds snacking,
there will be no gas or tar rings. Who knows
if there will even be any trees for the Gypsies to infest.
I hope there are, if not
I have no idea what you could substitute.
Pictures are not worth a thousand words when describing butterflies.
When I become old
I hope there is still a world for Butterflies.
The perfect marriage of adaptive intelligence and seemingly
random beauty. The specialization makes them valuable
but susceptible to widespread destruction. Perhaps some
clever entrepreneur will make mechanical butterflies,
to flit about factories with bits and bytes of pollen data.
Metallic echoes of one of life's great wonders.
That will sadden me beyond reason, that techno-origami would somehow
substitute the breath of a butterfly's flutter on an infant's cheek.