If I held out an arm, eventually one would land on it and petal me into stillness

It was high summer and there were hundreds of butterflies in there. I had stood and watched them gather, like living jewels, around a table of fruits, amazed at the way the tiny croziers of their tongues would uncurl and drink from the nectar of the oranges. The air was thick with them, spiraling as though played by little flurries of wind. If I held out an arm, eventually one would land on it and petal me into stillness. I loved to see how they mimicked the forms of the world on their wings – an ocellus, or the pattern of snake-print, all their gorgeous subterfuge. I had always wanted to be decorated like that, to hold out an arm and to have all the beauty of the world land on it, and make me beautiful, too.

—  Seán Hewitt, All Down Darkness Wide: A Memoir (Penguin Publishing, July 12, 2022)


Photo: DK – Monarch Butterfly. July 31, 2022. Backyard.

Comments

  1. How lovely that would be

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “ to hold out an arm and to have all the beauty of the world land on it …”

    What a glorious evocation of that special ‘something’ we all long for! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Just reading this made my breathing slow and the imagery in my mind take flight.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “Petal me,” Wow…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Petal me into stillness.” Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so beautiful! Your words made me feel like I was there! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    WOW!! … “It was high summer and there were hundreds of butterflies in there.” … and more!! Seán Hewitt, All Down Darkness Wide: A Memoir (Penguin Publishing, July 12, 2022).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. WOW! that’s a beauty.
    Keep well
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Had to read this many times; take in its sheer beauty, the breathless wonder of it all – thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Like the poets in your group, I love the “petal me into stillness”.
    While I would be thrilled if one alighted on my arm, I’d be satisfied for one to sit still long enough for me to focus…

    Liked by 2 people

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