Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Summer Place

"People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy."

-Anton Chekhov

I went back to the Conservatory of Flowers, in Golden Gate Park, yesterday to see the new butterfly additions for the special exhibit. There weren't as many butterflies on this visit as there were the last time I was there a few weeks ago. So, while they weren't many in numbers there was about 5 new varieties. I noticed something that made me a little sad this time around. There were about 20 or so butterflies of different varieties, that had a good amount of damage to their wings, and I saw about 10 butterflies throughout the exhibit that had passed away. One beautiful little brown butterfly was lying on it's side on top of a large green plant. She looked so tiny. :(

I have to wonder if they are being damaged by all the visitors to the exhibit or if they are emerging from their cocoons already injured. I am hoping that most folks would behave themselves when visiting something as amazingly beautiful as a butterfly exhibit, but one never knows. I observed more then one person batting them away as the little butterflies would try to land on their shoulder or clothing. Why would someone come to this type of exhibit if they were afraid of a butterfly? It makes me sad to think that someone would give up the experience of having a soft, gentle being, such as a gossamer, land on their hand, because they haven't taken the time to learn about how delightful, and beautiful these creatures really are.

The butterfly in the above photo is a Polydamas Swallowtail, and while she was really damaged on one side, and she had to work really hard at flying about from flower to flower, the fact that it was difficult didn't stop her. I admire that. :) I must have spent 20 minutes or so, just watching her live her life. She didn't seem to mind my presence. Maybe she knew how much I admired her...maybe she simply paid no attention to me at all, either way she made my day a little brighter just by living her life so carefree, because it hadn't occurred to her to feel sorry for herself. :)

A Summer Place
By Percy Faith

There's a summer place
Where it may rain or storm
Yet I'm safe and warm
For within, that summer place
Your arms reach out to me
And my heart is free from all care
For it knows

There are no gloomy skies
When seen through the eyes
Of those who are blessed with love

And the sweet secret of
A summer place
Is that it's anywhere
When two people share
All their hopes
All their dreams
All their love

There's a summer place
Where it may rain or storm
Yet I'm safe and warm
In your arms, in your arms
In your arms, in your arms
In your arms, in your arms

"Polydamas Swallowtail"
Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
July 5, 2006


Wil said...

The adult stage of most butterflies is circa two weeks. During that time, mechanical & physical damage to wing structures accumulates until after mating has been completed, if they are lucky; then they die. I suspect, due to the relatively higher than normal population concentration combined with the physical toll caused by beating against the enclosure, you were seeing the natural result of life as an adult butterfly.

Steven said...

She's lovely. As Wil said the butterfly lives a quick life. I've seen some badly beat up butterflys at the habitat here. Like yours. The ones in the wild have damage but it's more uniform across the wings. Wing wear is what I call it.

Karen Funk Blocher said...

I love the picture and the story behind it. But it made me sad....