A Butterfly’s Song

Posted: May 18, 2010 in butterflies, macro photography


The Hieroglyphic Flat in a very atypical perch with wings closed with a small red parasite on its furry eye.

The Hieroglyphic Flat, here perched with its wings oddly folded up on quilted green in the stolen sunlight, told a silent tale of two anomalies within an anomaly.

Defying its name and defying the odds, the parasitised butterfly turned its disfigured face from the sunlight without so much as a lure and slowly put up its wings as I stole closer and closer in the shadows. 

Exhibiting more typical behaviour now, the Hieroglyphic Flat feeds on bird droppings, with its wings flat out in typical resting mode of this species, zipping away as soon as the flash hits it. 

For such a simple creature, the butterfly is more than it seems, finding its symbolism and shape captured in the history and cultures of many civilisations from the intricate design of Japanese crests, the hieroglyphs on Egyptian tombs, clays and artifacts from Ancient Mexico and even Native American culture.

A rarely encountered Flos perched prettily in the open.

The significance of their beauty and ageless grace in the roar and decay of Man and Time lies in a promise of impermanence, of awaking, of escape and of freedom.

And in the wake of their emergence into the dawn, no flower, no field, no greater worldly reason can make them stay.

A dying Purple Duke fluttered weakly across the dead leaves.

Even in their destruction, they sing prettily of their own irrelevance to future events, both glorious and horrifying, in store for the rest who remain behind.

Vacant smiles flickering in the very midst of a dissatisfied world, their wingbeats resonate seemingly apathetic happiness, the heart of which we struggle to perceive.  As we look down at the whites of our knuckles and listen to our frightened rasping, the butterflies fly high overhead.

The butterfly carries in its uncaring existence, the song of the freed and happy soul, cut off from worldly anger and joy, who truly, in its freedom, ceases to be enemy, father, mother, lover or friend.


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  1. Evans87 says:

    I had a butterfly once. Watchful little bastard

  2. "The butterfly carries in its uncaring existence, the song of the freed and happy soul, cut off from worldly anger and joy, who truly, in its freedom, ceases to be enemy, father, mother, lover or friend."

  3. Thanks 🙂 I'm glad you like it. Yeah… sometimes butterflies can be pretty focused on getting away from a photographer. hahaha.

  4. You have the magic touch!

  5. Lauri says:

    Your posts transport from worldly anger and frustration to a feeling of freedom and joy. :)Yes, life often seems futile and hopeless and I despair, but the beauty in each tiny life….even the "eyeball parasite" is the miracle that keeps me going. In spite of all the crap humans have wrought on this planet, nature and The Force will continue! Your photos and essays remind of that! Thanks, BE! 😀

  6. Thank you Lauri! There is beauty in the world! 😀

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