Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Languid lepidopteran

It's pretty chilly here at Summer Camp - Über Alles much of the time these days, and especially at night, and even more so at night in the rain, when needing to use the latrine which is a block away.


As I've mentioned in previous posts, there aren't many flowers blooming here, and the ones that are (in the grass), seem very similar to the weeds back home.

A couple of mornings ago I walked into our Headquarters building (it's a small dining facility (DFAC) not being used for that purpose at the moment (read: not designed to be a Headquarters building!)) and noticed a butterfly clinging to the inside of the screen door, down near the floor. [Click on any photo to enlarge.]

No one else had noticed the insect, it seems. (I later asked the personnel in the TOC (tactical operations center) about the butterfly, but none had adverted to it.)

Its wings were closed, so it would have been easy to miss, if one weren't on the lookout for little surprises. Fortunately for me, I had my camera on my belt, and began snapping photos. The critter was hard to focus on, so I eventually coaxed it onto my finger and got it into some better light.

Pretty dull, actually, as butterflies go, I thought.

Until it opened its wings once.

I'd never seen a butterfly like it before. Of course, it did not open its wings again. Poikilotherms are like that when they're cold.

I decided to take the butterfly outside, figuring that it had been cold inside the building, and as soon as the sunlight hit it, it would open its wings.

Almost instantaneously, the butterfly spread its wings and just sat there on the end of my finger, soaking in the sun's rays. Its colors and markings were even more spectacular in the sunlight than they had seemed inside the building.

I snapped a few more photos, trying not to shadow the animal with myself or the camera. I suspected I'd only have a few tries. (It's times like these when my 'idiopathic benign essential tremor' is really annoying!)

Moments later, after I'd nudged the butterfly onto a wooden ledge outside, it closed its wings once, and then took off into the morning light.

What a delight, and one that I'd certainly have missed had I not been paying attention.

These days, paying attention -- especially in the morning! -- seems pretty miraculous for someone who used to drink a lot....

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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Unknown said...

Thank you, Tim, for the butterfly! It is beautiful! And, that is why you are a non-combatant, you see the Universe differently than a combatant does, much of the time. Not always, of course.

Blessings for you and the butterfly!

Marne said...

You continue to amaze me as you enjoy and share so very many of the gifts that our HP has blessed us with. The drab exterior and the gorgeous interior of the butterfly reminds me that we can't judge a book by it's cover (nor compare our insides to other people's outsides)

Donna F said...

Amazing! I frequently read your blog when I take my lunch break at work. I made my coworkers come over and look! Thank you!!!

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