Surprised by a butterfly: heaven or hell

surprised by a butterfly: heaven 

by Helen R

Down in the woods where I walk with my dogs every morning, on the last few mornings when the sun has been shining, I have been surprised by a butterfly. Or even two or three. All different. One brilliant white with vibrant orange wing tips. One brown but a beautifully detailed speckled brown. One plain white but tinged with grey. I’ve tried to get close. I’ve tried to take a photo. But as soon as I move, that’s it, they’re gone. I have learnt to stand still and watch. To savour the moment. Because these moments of pure beauty are fleeting.

To me, being surprised by a butterfly is a moment of sheer joy. A moment where heaven breaks through and gives me a glimpse of something beautifully fragile, transient, totally unexpected. I cannot control these moments. I cannot predict when they will come. I cannot do anything to make them last.

There’s something about a butterfly that resonates with a lot of women. Some women love the whole story of metamorphosis – it speaks to them of transformation. Some believe a butterfly is a sign that someone they love is watching over them. Some respond to the glorious diversity of pattern and colour. Some connect with the fragility or freedom. For whatever reason, many women have a thing for butterflies. That’s why in every shop, you see every kind of item for sale with a butterfly design. I used to love these things myself. I have a Celtic butterfly tattoo on my right shoulder.

But now, I realise there is no substitute for the real thing. Getting out there. Putting yourself in the right place at the right time. Keeping your eyes wide open. Making space for the butterfly to surprise you and taking time to delight in it when it comes. That is butterfly heaven for me.24-5

surprised by a butterfly: hell

by Helen H

Trying to put my finger on when it changed is difficult, but at some point, I went from a little girl who used to go out catching butterflies to a little girl terrified by them.  Now I know that sounds all wrong to you people who love them, but there it is.

I spend my spring and summer months with a little ball of dread inside me.  Every time I open the front door, I pray I won’t have any unwanted encounters.  I subconsciously scan the road ahead and make a wide berth around heavily flowered areas.  I often say I am like a superhero…I have super senses when it comes to spotting a bug.  I can walk in a room and I just know that something is there.  Crazy?  Maybe…..but not a choice I made.  Not something I can easily stop.  Don’t get me wrong, I can marvel at the beauty and how delicate they are, but the long legs and chunky bodies repulse me and can turn me into a quivering wreck in a split second.

Actually, it’s most winged creatures. The only one I think I like is a Ladybug, but even when they fly, it freaks me out.  Last year, I went for therapy, which I do think helped in some small way, although I still react like a maniac if anything surprises me.

So no, I just don’t get the whole fascination with them. Every time they fill you with joy, they fill me with fear.


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