We’ve all had them.
When we’re nervous.
And usually for a good reason.
First day at school.
Speaking in front of a group.
Jumping off a cliff (into water below, hopefully).
Before a performance.
Before a first date.
Before a first kiss.
Before getting married.
They flutter inside us.
And outside us.
Mesmerizing us with their ethereal flight.
Their paper-thin wings.
And a multitude of colors.
We plant bushes to attract them.
And stare in awe when they flit here and there.
Or gape in wonder when trees fill with the migrating monarchs.
And yet they are nothing more than flying insects.
But insects nonetheless.
Butterflies appear on frescoes in Thebes dating back 3,500 years.
Folklore once held that a butterfly stole milk or butter.
Butterflies are a point of study for some.
And unfortunately for some butterflies.
Take the “Butterflies of Texas” exhibit, for instance.
At UT’s Texas Memorial Museum in Austin.
Here’s their directions:
*Catch the butterfly with a stroke of the net.
*Look at the live butterfly to decide whether to keep it or release it.
*Kill the butterfly between the index finger pad of one hand and the index fingernail of the other hand by pressure, enough to break the heart and nervous system but not enough to burst the body. You may choose to use a killing jar.
*Live or pinched specimens may be placed in a freezer overnight to make sure the specimens are dead.
*Dry them out crisp over an oven pilot light before sealing them.
*The best specimens for study are mounted as soon as possible after killing.
I’d rather watch them move freely about.
Filling our world with color.
Working their magic.
Without broken hearts.
Renee Walker is a realtor and published writer and poet on the square.