After a spell away, visiting the fair Isle of Anglesey, I’m now back in my studio, gathering my senses.
Before I left, I released three handsome male Orange tips from my butterfly nursery. Their exquisite chrysalis’ had rested there, out of harms way since late last Spring. I’d rescued them as gorgeous green caterpillars, chasing ahead of a mechanical monster, released by the council, before it chomped them up! Besides the three I released, another had emerged but sadly lay still, wings folded on the floor of the nursery. He was perfect in death, his hind wings gently mottled moss green, the bright orange tips of his upper forewings, tucked beneath, glimpsing through, like the first light of dawn. I stared at him lovingly for a while before reverentially lifting him out of the nursery, and laying him to rest on the desk in my studio.
A week later, sat at my desk daydreaming… watching the steam rise from my coffee, nibbling on a slice of toast and honey, a flutter of light caught my eye. The fluttering of wings! Miraculously the butterfly was resurrecting, delighted and surprised, I watched as he falteringly took to his feet. He balanced for just seconds, before, once again fainting and falling to one side. Now, I’m no stranger to collapse due to energy deficit, having been diagnosed with type one diabetes as a child. Clearly this butterfly was hypoglycaemic! Instinctively, yet probably not altogether sensibly, I offered him a corner of my toast and honey. He seemed interested, fluttering and unfurling his proboscis. However I swiftly registered that toast and honey was far to human, clumsy and sticky a snack; butterflies need lighter delicacies! Primroses and Honesty, two of the species favourite nectar plants, conveniently flower beside my studio steps; moments later I had provided him with a ‘delicious’ posy. He was upright again in seconds, tentatively making his way towards the centre of a Primrose, it’s scent and promise of nectar had surely aroused him from his feint! Now began the gentle process of nursing him back to life. Intensive care; breathing on him gently to encourage him to unfurl his proboscis and feed, watching in awe as it transformed from clock spring to straw, fascinated to observe him searching out the nectary so daintily and sensitively, supping sustenance invisibly. Now, it’s between me and my conscience how long I maintained my vigil. True, I ‘may’ be a little shy of projected productivity/creativity targets; but who knew I’d be honoured with the role of resuscitating an Orange tip! Surely now, any artistic rendition I make of him will be truer to life. As I watched him fly away yesterday I certainly felt I’ve known no truer purpose.