We’ve all had them at one time or another.
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 around 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 lepidopteran insects.
But mighty fine lepidopterans indeed.
Butterflies appear on frescoes in Thebes dating back 3,500 years.
Folklore once held that a butterfly stole milk or butter.
Butter + fly (according to trusty Webster).
Seeing that would be something to write home about.
Butterflies are a point of study for some (unfortunately for some butterflies).
For instance, the "Butterflies of Texas" exhibit at UT’s Texas Memorial Museum.
They gave directions on collecting them:
*Catch the butterfly with a stroke of the net. [or a stroke of luck]
*Look at the live butterfly to decide whether to keep it or release it. [fly, butterfly, fly!]
*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. [ I may choose to throw up]
*Live or pinched specimens may be placed in a freezer overnight to make sure the specimens are dead. [you gotta watch those vicious butterflies]
*Dry them out crisp over an oven pilot light before sealing them. [gives new meaning to "crispy tenders"]
*The best specimens for study are mounted as soon as possible after killing. [so true of so many things]
And voila! You have dead butterflies pinned down for good.
Or, watch them move freely about.
Working their magic.
Without broken hearts.
Renee Walker is a poet, writer, and real estate broker on the Square.