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.

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