Animals in the City: Find 4

Photo: Boripat Lebel

A brown butterfly rests indolently on the wall of an antique white hue, digesting its morning drink of honeyed nectar, as rich as it was sweet. Curiously enough, about two months ago, I chanced upon another dark butterfly relaxing on the same wall, a short distance away from where this one is perched presently; which, as it so happens, was also hanging onto the building in a state of contented languor. If I had to surmise, perhaps it is the calorific juices in the frangipanis and roses of this vicinity that is making them park their wings so carelessly; not at all bothered about the black object closing in on them, which was my phone, but could have easily been a fly swatter.

Not unlike how one might prefer grapes over raisins, I like butterflies a lot more than I do caterpillars; most people will no doubt be of a similar opinion, for insects with a lot of legs is an acquired taste, to be sure.

Whenever espying a butterfly, whether it be resting or in flight, I am transported to a room in the Western Australian Museum, a place I frequented as a boy with my grandparents, aptly named the Butterfly Gallery; wherein showcase after showcase were filled with a kaleidoscopic array of brilliant wings. It’s one of the rare places from my childhood visits that made a lasting impression; a surviving memory from the past that continues to be evoked unexpectedly when admiring the natural beauty and free spirit of a passing butterfly.