The Most Beautiful Butterfly of the Summer


Its wings were torn, far less than perfect. I could tell from a distance, and hesitated even getting my camera. But it stayed on the butterfly bush, carefully pulling out its nectar, going about its business, and not minding a little human accompaniment. I hurriedly went inside it and came back out to grab a few shots. At first I wondered why I was bothering. The goal of most nature photographs is a glimpse of perfection and beauty. Why document the tattered and torn? But then I felt an affinity to this magnificent creature, the Grizabella of the butterfly world, who seemed perfectly content to flutter about, posing in its less-than-stellar state, and I loved it all the more because of it.

We are so quick to tear things apart when they fail to be what we want them to be. Who knows what this creature has gone through to reach such a state? Who knows the trials and tribulations of what it’s like to have your wings torn to shreds? And who has surrendered a perfect beauty to something other, and had to go on tending to life, procuring nectar, soaring to survive? Not me. I’ve been lucky in that respect. This butterfly, I think, is the most beautiful butterfly of the summer.

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