Monday, August 02, 2010


It’s been a busy summer, and it seems like every square on the calendar has had some obligation or event written on it. But occasionally, among all the appointments and command performances, are pleasant surprises.

One of those pleasant surprises took place a week or so ago with a visit to the “Blooming Butterfly” exhibit at the Como Zoo in St. Paul.

The exhibit itself looks like a caterpillar-shaped greenhouse, and we first had to stand in a line because the exhibit doorkeepers only allowed in about thirty people in at a time. While most of the visitors’ reactions were ooohs and aahhhs, a few people couldn’t get out of the butterfly exhibit fast enough. They were unable to get away from the fact that these were insects and they were everywhere and they were crawling on their clothes.

Oh, well. More room for the rest of us.

But here was our reward:

Tom’s gold Scheels’ Hardware cap attracted a couple of beautiful specimens.
A little girl standing next to me was wearing the perfect cap to lure a beauty.

I was certain that a butterfly would land on me. After all, I am usually an insect magnet. If there’s one mosquito in a roomful of a thousand of people, invariably I’ll be the one to be bit.

But minutes passed and I was forlornly butterfly-less. Just when I was convinced that my plain blue shirt wasn’t the type of clothing to attract the very fastidious butterflies, a smiling man standing next to me pointed to my shirt. There, like a perfect, delicate brooch, a butterfly sat poised near my collar bone, fluttering its wings. I quietly handed the camera to Tom, and he got this picture:

I didn’t move a muscle for thirty seconds while the butterfly rested. “It likes me!” I thought to myself in a shrill Sally-Field-like voice. “It really likes me!” (Is there something pathetic about a grown woman who needs the affirmation of a butterfly to believe in her own self worth?)

Anyway, who would have guessed that one of the high points of my summer would be that I became the butterfly landing pad for what I believe was the rare, endangered species, Lycaeides melissa samuelis blue butterfly.

(And please, any butterfly experts out there, don’t tell me it was the Commonus wooleating mothus. Let me live in my fantasy world.)

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