Sunday, November 25, 2012

Visitor: A butterfly lover’s philosophy of life.

As a boy I used to chase butterflies, in the field, and among the woods. My childhood time was literally divided between reading books in the room and searching for the airborne insects in the wild. After some period of field training, I learned all of the butterfly species by heart, so that I could identify which species the moment I saw one flying. Looking back, I think it was a marvelous manifestation of the brain’s ability to apply pattern recognition. What a pity it does not have any practical value in today’s world!

Sometimes, I could not tell what I was looking at, as the butterfly would appear strange and exotic. At such a time, my heart would suddenly throb violently. It could be a new species yet to be discovered by human kind (to discover one was the wildest dream of a boy like myself). The reality was not that exciting, as we all regret to learn. Most of the time, it was just the shades and backgrounds that made the butterfly appear to be different. After a more careful observation, it would turn out to be quite a common species.

From time to time, which was equally exciting, the butterfly would turn out to be a “visitor”. A species not normally resident, but was blown into the area by strong wind, especially after the passage of a typhoon. In other cases, when the butterfly had a strong ability to fly, it could wander on its own into the forest where I was chasing butterflies.

Since I spent so much time chasing butterflies, I think part of my philosophy of life has been formed by interactions with these elegant creatures. In my life, I sometimes catch myself waiting for “visitors”. Some person, event, or phenomenon, that would enter my world only rarely. It is such a pity that visitors do not come so often. But when one does come, it infuses my life with a strange sense of joy and expectancy. It makes me want to run off and venture into an unknown, enchanted kingdom.