Thursday, 9 October 2014

Butterfly Wings

The alarm went off at 5.50 am, but it took me a while to get myself out of bed. I’m not the kind that jumps out of bed, charging into the day. No, this time of the day, those first few waking moments are when I am feeling totally connected with myself, in every way. And I want to know what is going on, what I am feeling, where in my body and why.  These are those precious moments when I am totally at peace with myself, regardless of what I am feeling. So, I allow myself those first 15-20 minutes to just feel the day. This morning was like any other in that respect as with the routine that followed.

I did some reiki, then stretching exercises, some meditation and made my breakfast. I drank my daily quota of two-and-a-half cups of morning tea [there’s no symbolism in that number, it’s just what the thermos will fill up with] and wrote in my journal. It’s usually time for some more elaborate yoga asanas after this, but, of late, I have felt like getting out and taking a walk. Now, 9.45 am on a mid-September Gurgaon morning, with the sun shining bright, is perhaps not the best hour of the day to take a morning walk but, I braved on, talking to myself as I walked step by step around the complex.

One of the best things about this later hour is that there is no-one else walking and I can talk to myself. Yes, talk to myself as in getting words out of my mouth, posing questions and waiting for the answers, looking for them in the trees and the breeze and otherwise just being attentive to my body. It’s amazing how things just come up. I walked quite briskly as I had written, in my journal, for longer than intended, and I was running late. And to be honest, even though there was a breeze and it wasn’t unpleasantly hot, it was getting close to 34 degrees Celsius with very little shade for most of the perimeter I walked. It was quite warm and getting hotter by the minute.

Anyway, absorbed in the dialogue started through the journal, I realised that talking to myself in this way was actually giving my fingers a rest. I walked and talked and towards the end of my half hour walk, I chanced upon a butterfly. It flitted right past my eyes, as I turned the pavement, around the park. It had possibly been busy with the flowers and decided to take a break, because it passed me and then swooped down onto the dark, blackish tarmac - the sharp contrast between the tar and its delicate beige wings, possibly showing it off, at its best.

For some reason it kept its wings tightly shut. I peered down, lowering my large frame by half and bending my knees, to take a look at those delicate markings of very fine lines, almost invisible really, of a light, cup-of-tea kind of brown, with very small dots of sepia sparsely patterning an otherwise plain pair of wings. Then, it opened its wings and I let out a gasp of delight. But it teased; it tempted and seduced with those beautiful colours and patterns, keeping them open only for nano seconds with long pauses in between. And between each opening, which seemed like such an age, my eyes waited to feast on its incredibly beautiful wings, on the inside.

I stilled myself despite the discomfiture of the posture, looking down on a creature no more than an inch in size, more than five-and-a half-feet below my normal sight. I prayed silently for it to open its wings and let me feast my eyes, but it wouldn’t relent. And then it did and closed them shut almost instantly. I stared with such intensity each time, noting the iridescent blue with a fringe of orange dots like burning embers of coal, on a jet-black border, with dancing silver and gold dots appearing here and there almost like beings of light – transparent and constantly moving. The orange centres of the dots were golden, like a halo of light inside the flaming orange. The orange that surrounded this yellowish circle, merged outwards, into scarlet red. And the contrast with black leading into a spectacularly electric blue was such a surprise after the dull beige on the outside that I was mesmerised. I stood for a long time, just looking at this spectacle, waiting for the butterfly to open its wings again.

I was lucky that no car drove past to spoil this for me but, frankly I couldn’t get enough. I was also a bit peeved that I hadn’t carried my phone with me because I could have tried to capture the colours on camera. But I like to balance the tech part of my life with occasionally leaving the phone behind while I walk. Therefore, I had to work hard, exercising my memory muscles to record every detail. I have to confess it was a refreshing change but it also means that I don’t have any photos to share with you on this post. The heat of the sun, the time of the day, everything was forgotten as I blissfully sweated on the tarmac, delighted by miniscule, delicate, feathery wings, seated in the vast empty expanse of rough stones coated with tar-coal, until it flew beyond my sight.

I straightened my back and resumed my walk to see all the drivers who were cleaning the cars, looking at me in the oddest way.  But I smiled because they hadn’t seen the sublime beauty I had been privy to; neither did I think they would understand what it meant, in this urban metropolis, to be treated to such a sight.

I had been reading books and hearing podcasts about angels and spirits and how they come to speak to us in the physical world, through butterflies and creatures of the earth, and more besides. So, coupled with this information and the unusual drama I had witnessed with the butterfly wings, my interest was piqued. For the remainder of my walk, I wondered why it had behaved so oddly. Was there a spiritual message in this for me?

Those wings were patterned in the most spectacularly unique way. It is not unusual to see butterflies on my walks around where I live, but this was no ordinary butterfly. I had never seen anything quite so beautiful, nor really ever seen the theatrics it displayed, in ever so reluctantly opening its wings. This made me wonder if somewhere that was a way to actually show them off to their best, to ensure that everyone’s attention was riveted. But are butterflies aware of people looking at them? Was it narcissistic and, knowing its beauty, teasing my senses? Or was it afraid of being exploited in some way because it was so incredibly stunning?

Yet, as though it was a messenger from the astral world, it stayed long enough and ensured it had got my attention. I was compelled, by my idiosyncratic habit of leaving the phone at home, to memorise the colours, patterns and ritual as enacted, which has somehow seeped into the very soul of my being. But I am still grappling with the message it carried, if indeed there was any, beyond the moment of delight I revelled in.

Indescribable splendour
Winged colours amaze
Butterfly away!