Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Day with the Butterflies

Hey guys!!! I know this is like a little...okay like a LOT belated, but HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!

Truly, Valentine's Day has always been a day for lovers and hopeless romantics. True, it is on one hand a giant gimmick concocted by the World's Association of FLorists and Candy Makers to scam young couples out of their money...but on the other hand I like to believe that Valentine's Day is an exceptionally special day, one that commemorates Love and the acts that people have done in its name. This year, on Valentine's Day, I joined in that celebration at the Penang Butterfly Farm. 

A Date with Butterfly Lovers
A Date with Butterfly Lovers was organized by the Penang Butterfly Farm to commemorate this beautiful day. Upon arriving at the farm, its misty walkways decorated with flowers and paper hearts we were given each a plastic cup containing within it, a single butterfly. "Release it anywhere in the park" I was told. Native American legends say that if you make a wish upon a butterfly and whisper into its little ears, it will carry your wish to the heavens and into God's ears.

Butterfly in the cup, waiting to be released
As usual, the park was an extremely delightful experience! Everyone was so friendly! Special thanks is in order I believe, to Michael for fetching us there and for the guided tour! May this Valentine's Day mark the beginning of a beautiful and long-lasting relationship with the woman you love. Meanwhile, journeying through the Park, I had to opportunity to revisit with some of its lovely inhabitants. My favourite was this awesome looking stick-insect!

OMG! It may look like a twig but it feels NOTHING like one.

As cryptic and unimposing as it may look the stick insect truly has one particularly impressive feature that was not visible in the photographs. When tossed lightly into the air, they extend small orange butterfly-like wings to parachute their way to safety!

A gentle giant
Of course the stick-insect, as gentle a giant as it was, could not detract me from appreciating the beauty of the true inhabitants of Penang Butterfly Park, my "babies" the butterflies.

A glassy blue tiger sipping nectar on the mist-drenched flowers
Daddy's little girls

Indeed it seems that I attracted more than one "hitch-hiker" which were more than happy to cling onto various portions of my clothes throughout my duration at the park. They must've been attracted to my smell!

Or more likely, to the butterfly I was yet to release! Whoah there boy! Calm your antennae!
 Indeed truly it seemed that the butterflies were getting into the spirit of Valentines Day. Love was in the air even in the insect kingdom and as they rioted amongst the colorful blossoms and flirted in between the leaves, butterflies mostly of the lacewing species took the opportunity to dance for their partners and, upon succession, to retreat to the various nooks and crannies of the park to go about their business.
A pair of butterfly lovers
A butterfly mother, missing a wing, but still carefully placing her young upon a vine
Butterfly eggs
Eventually, the time came to release our butterflies. The little butterfly I had in my cup had already dried up her wings and was beginning to flutter them, testing them for flight. Meanwhile, butterflies of her same (and sometimes different) species began flocking around me, responding perhaps to some ancient call embedded in their insect systems to dance and flutter, to impress her, their potential mate.
Butterfly fly away~
Me and the girls with our butterflies
I opened the cup and coaxed her onto my hand. She tested it, tentatively with her feet but then eventually crawled on. She tested her wings a few times and I expected her to take off in a blink, but still she sat there. Realising there was something yet I had to do, I raised her gently to my lips and whispered into her butterfly ears, my wish. And then just like that, she was gone.

As I watched her fly away I realised something;

love is a lot like a butterfly. It is beautiful and wonderful and people spend a lot of time chasing it, and trying to catch it. But the truth is, once you've caught it and put it into a jar, or say a plastic cup, you realise that truly some of that beauty is lost and suddenly it doesn't seem at all as enticing as it had. But if you had let it go, let it fly away with the wind and should it sometime return to alight upon your finger, then that joy is unbridled and unrivaled by no any other. 


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