Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Insect – Butterfly Essay

Whenever I hear the word butterfly, the first word that will come to my mind is the word beautiful. Likewise,I think the best example for beautiful is butterfly. For me, they compromise each other just like how their sounds were alike. If I were to describe a butterfly physically, first thing I would notice aside from how beautiful it was is that it was also small and being small makes them cuter than ever. Another thing is thatthere are tons of different types. Butterfly comes in different colors, different shades, different shapes, different sizes, and different designs on their wings.

There are pure black, pure yellow, and pure white in color. Some are dark while others are just light. Mostly, wings are color combination of black or dark ones and then another bright neon color. Butterflies are wonderful creatures. They can’t swim, but they sure are very good at flying. They can fly for long distances and they are also good at eating and giving birth. They used to be a creepy ant, but then they grew out of their “shell” and a beautiful butterfly came out. When I was young, I wondered how the designs or patterns on the butterfly’s wings were made and I don’t get to know how is that so.

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I was wondering also why butterfly is called a butterfly. Of all the words that can be connected to fly it would be butter. Funny how I wandered about this when I was growing up yet when I was still a child, I don’t mind why and how a butterfly is called like that. What matters to me before is that by just seeing a butterfly makes me feel good, makes me smile so bright, makes me forget how bad my day was, makes me wanna jump of too much excitement and even dance of sheer happiness. It was like a painkiller to me that relieves any kind of negative emotions that I was feeling.

It helps me lessen the anger that was building inside of me and also when I’m mad at someone and on something that happens. What is this special kinship we feel for the butterflies? What in our DNA sequence causes us to smile at their flight? What evolutionary advantage is there in our joy, or in the creation of their overly-large floppy paper-thin wings? I always ask myself these questions and I always end up not bothering about it. Looking back to how I described a butterfly, I thought of how much it differs on how I appreciate it more today. Perhaps spirit is the magnet that attracts us to butterflies.

Maybe our kinship has nothing to do with science at all. Spirit, it could be argued, is to earthly limitation what butterfly flight is to gravity, what play is to work, art to science, infinity to boundaries, laughter in the face of sorrow, and wisdom to lost innocence. Spirit and butterflies share a lot in common. They are improbable, playfully defiant, and delicately strong. Butterflies are like the souls of children turned inside out. Those days how I described things such as these butterflies, I realized how much I became matured at seeing things and understanding its worth and purpose in this life.

Some people say that when a butterfly lands on you it means good luck. However, in the Philippines, a lingering black butterfly or moth in the house is taken to mean that someone in the family has died or will soon die. The idiom “butterflies in the stomach” is used to describe a state of nervousness. In some old cultures, butterflies also symbolize rebirth after being inside a cocoon for a period of time. Before, I was not aware where does these butterflies came from until at school where my teacher taught us the life cycle of a butterfly.

It was amazing to know the fact that this beautiful creature started as a larvae that many of us were so afraid of. But it was more amazing to know that behind that fact, they were able to showcase what they can be and how far they can go. It was very hard for them to reach the stage of being an adult yet they strive so hard to reach what they want and that was a great accomplishment for them. I remember the first time I saw a butterfly. I was really fascinated by its beauty and I know that the butterfly itself was fascinated like me by the beauty of the world that surrounds him.

Of all the animals, it seems that butterfly was the only insect I loved and will continue to love in this lifetime. It has acquired the alchemical capacity to turn green plant matter into precious metal, or so their rarest hues appear. The life story of a butterfly is called its life history or metamorphosis. Characteristically, butterflies undergo major developmental changes during their growth. They lay eggs, which hatch into creeping forms with chewing mouth parts. These are called caterpillars or larvae. During this stage, a caterpillar’s aim in life is to feed and store up food.

Their mimicry was so well done, that combined with their likely sequestration of plant toxins, they apparently didn’t feel the need to hide from predators. The caterpillars flaunted their strange bodies in full view, curving their bodies in the “j” shape of bird excrement, their mid-sections gleaming as if still wet from creation. As the caterpillars grew in size, their bird dropping mimicry became less convincing, and their bodies began to express a more serpentine strategy that was just as unappetizing. And as it increases its size, and reached its full grown size, the caterpillar sheds its skin and transforms into pupa.

During this stage, the larval tissues are torn down and slowly rebuilt into organs more fitted for aerial life. The wings and legs of the future butterfly can be seen through its transparent skin. The developed butterfly crawls out by splitting open the chrysalis. At first, its wings are mere fluid filled sacs, but these rapidly expand and harden and the adult winged butterfly is then ready for flight. It no longer has mouthparts fitted for chewing leaves; they are now tube like and are used only for siphoning nectar from flowers.

There is no growth during the adult stage. Thus the life history of a butterfly has four stages, egg, larva, pupa and adult and is said to have a complete life history or metamorphosis. Somewhere amongst all the chaos, a single butterfly spreads its delicate wings to avoid collision with the many obstacles in its path. Appearing as though it were the sole survivor of a tragic carnage, it finds a path to its many disguised comrades hidden amongst the leaves. Looking ahead at the trials they are about to face, they trust their instinct to lead the way.

Their purpose and reasoning for this is somewhat unclear — Is it simply to survive the inevitable winter that awaits them, to start a new family to keep the life cycle flowing, or perhaps it is to preserve the memories of the past. Survival is of course one of the most important aspects of life. When it comes to butterflies however, it is more than just an aspect; it is a way of life. Everything they do revolves around the simple notion of survival. The escape from winter, the start of a family, all help them advance their race towards another flourishing generation.

Unable to endure the harsh winter that will undoubtedly eradicate their race from the planet, the butterflies’ instinct requires them to escape to a more sustainable climate, where they can continue their pattern. The continuity of their race is the key, as they seek out the best possible route towards the south, and a brighter future. Survival can be used by any race, and should be, because it will keep our ideas as well as everything we have worked for to continue to thrive. Their survival cycle isn’t so uncomplicated though; the turmoil they will face along the way is not easy for them.

They live under the constant danger of predators, and casualties caused by natural occurrences. The butterflies will suppress this danger though, for the sake of the next generation; as they always have. Finding a mate to start the next multitude of butterflies is second on the list of instinctual necessities; a task that they will no doubt accomplish for themselves as well as their entire existence. The butterflies’ belief of a brighter future is consistent throughout their lives, and will prevent their ideas from dying with them. The truth is that the human race itself could learn something from these creatures.

Preservation of traditions through survival of the race would in essence create a better future for the next generation by allowing them to learn from our mistakes. By allowing their future generations the chance to be shown the way things work in the world, the butterflies secure their spawns’ safety. The idea of safety is not allowed to be caught up in the great web of illusion. Instead it is directly passed down as though the butterflies were a single mind. This thought invokes the possibility that the butterflies notions and beliefs aren’t just instinct but rather memories dating back to the very first of their kind.

Of course that is what instinct is: a thought process directed towards the will to survive. The butterflies pass on their memories of life to the next generation throughinstinct. Do we humans, like the butterflies, know things instinctively? Or is it something we must learn someday through teaching or by trial and error? The fact of the matter is: butterflies are ultimately able to continue their infinite cycle of life; whether it comes from the instinct to escape turmoil, creating the next generation of life cycling butterflies, or simply to pass down the traditions and memories of their predecessors.

Butterfly is a constant reminder to me that even though I am facing a lot of challenges and trials today, I can overcome all of those by being determined in all the things that I will do. Work hard to reach my dreams and have trust and faith in Him. Life will go on. So when autumn brings its life ending chaos to the world, there will always be that single butterfly; dancing amongst the deeds of death itself, reminding us that there will always be the will to survive, to love and to remember.


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