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Butterfly in a Jar

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge-
That myth is more potent than history.
I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts-
That hope always triumphs over experience-
That laughter is the only cure for grief.
And I believe that love is stronger than death.”
~Robert Fulghum

 

*One of my favorite things is butterflies.  I love, not just the colors, and the varieties of shapes, but the silent grace of these creatures.  Butterflies are a welcome sight, no matter where you go, people are happy to see them.

Moths, their cousins, are seen as pests.  They are reputed to *eat clothes* and people stock up on mothballs to put in their closets to keep them away.  They are not often seen as lovely, delicate, and silently graceful. 

I dare you to tell me these creatures are not just as beautiful.

Yes, they flutter more frenetically, at least the smaller ones do, and yes, they will flock toward a light-source, whether it be a lightbulb, or a candle’s flame. 

But they can be just as gorgeous, just as graceful, as their daytime counterparts.

They too, might sit delicately on your hand or arm, licking the salt from your skin, gently fanning their wings.

In my experience, moths are simply butterflies that prefer the darkness to the light.

They are not as showy as their cousins, preferring to keep their colors more muted, subdued.  They also tend to be smaller, except for this behemoth, the luna moth.  My personal favorite.  We used to see these occasionally where I grew up in Iowa.  Not often, just enough to keep me fascinated with them.

So, you’re asking now, why butterflies and moths, in the middle of winter?  What do these have anything to do with snow, with the holidays, with ice and cold?

Not a damn thing.

I’m tired of feeling like a creature, caught and kept in glass.

I found a Butterfly in a Jar in one of the local stores this weekend.  I instantly wanted it, but had to forego buying it.  No, it’s not a real butterfly.  It’s electronic, a beautiful, fake thing on a wire, that flutters around the jar when you tap on the lid.

I still want one, not so much because I have any desire to capture a real live butterfly, I prefer releasing them to capturing.

No, I want one – to remind myself that even though people may stare, may tap at the glass, and may even shake it up now and again – the butterfly you see inside the jar is not real.  You can’t hurt it, you can’t kill it.  The batteries, or whatever it is that fuels this electronic critter, will eventually run down, but it will not die.

The real ones are still free.  Still beautiful, still graceful in all their silence.

And sometimes, they’re not even butterflies.  Sometimes, they’re moths.

 Tonight is Yule.  It is also the night of the total lunar eclipse.  If it stops snowing, even for a moment, around midnight, I’ll get to see it.

And, like those moths, I will flutter toward it, yearning for the light, and the renewal that comes with it.

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13 thoughts on “Butterfly in a Jar

  1. You probably know by now that my brother is a butterfly and moth expert. The greenhouse and every spare space was chock full of them; my brother used to have Atlas moths(the biggest moth in the world) around the house like live wall plaques, and the Indian Moon moth he reared in great numbers in the spare room one year. yeah, I have an interesting family.
    I grew up around everything to do with butterflies and moths, and the significance of them as I learned shamanic spirituality has grown exponentially over the years.
    For me, the butterfly(and its sister, the papillon de nuit, the moth) is the ultimate symbol of transformation. Their fragility and their beauty do not bely their strength.
    I’ll be watching the eclipse here in England, if I can heave myself out of bed. be thinking of you!

    • I’ll be thinkin’ about you too, Viv. I wish NASA would have live streaming video of this… so that those of us that have to miss it because of weather, could still maybe see it as it happens…
      *sigh*
      Take care of yourself, lady! May the newly washed moon renew us all!

  2. No matter the weather, I know you will make it Brea. You’ll get that renewal you so much deserve. 🙂

    • Thanks, Mark. First you make me laugh, then you make me cry. Danggit. You’re like a friggin’ Hallmark movie, or any Disney movie ever made!
      You are not an Idiot… you’re the illegitimate red-headed step-grand-child of Walt Disney, aren’t you???
      (HUG) thanks, my friend, my brother, HToH (Head Taco of Harem).

  3. I love butterflies. I had my totem read by an elder of a local tribe. The top of my totem is a butterfly. Just shortly after the reading, my friend (a member of the tribe) drew a native butterfly for me; like a totem looking animal. I got it tattooed to the top of my spine.

    Butterflies are about change, metamorphosis. They come from a not so beautiful start and change into beauty and grace; just as you said. Coming from the childhood I have, I am the embodiment of change, growth, beauty. (If you have truly read any of my blogs, you’ll know it’s hard for me to even write that.)

    This… is my tattoo

    • Lovely tattoo! Such vivid colors! I… have a strange relationship with butterflies, that I’ll have to post about another time. For now, let’s just say that they speak to me, both daytime and nighttime, butterflies and moths both.

      I understand how hard that statement was for you, it’s a difficult thing to come from such a place as you did, to be able to realize your own worth, and value. But I’m glad to hear you say it! 🙂 Happy Solstice, my friend!

  4. What a beautiful post, Brea! The words read like butter, and I had the warm fuzzies at the end. You are a remarkable woman. Truly. I am sorry for all the hardships you face.

    • Thanks, Lil k. Next step, being able to release the past, so I can complete this renewal. Time for me to get to work!

    • Thanks, Fae. I didn’t get to see the whole eclipse, as it was fairly cloudy up on my hill, but I did get a couple of shots toward the end of the show. It was beautiful. And a Happy Yule, Merry Christmas, and Festive Holidays to you as well!

  5. Hi there, i receive an pursuit for trademark because i use the picture butterfly in a jar.
    You should take it of asap if you do not paid the right to use that pick. The pursuit comme from gettyimage

    • The picture has been replaced. I don’t use any of these pictures on my blog for personal gain, simply for visual effect.

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