David Watson Hood, visual artist
butterflies "birds in the hand"
Thousands of years of use of the butterfly as a visual motif have led to an over simplification of our perception of them. When contact is direct, skin to exoskeleton, and when I have the magnification of the macro lens permitting simple eye to compound eye contact I am struck by their non-mammalian strangeness. It is tempting to use the word 'alien' but who is the more alien them or me? As is sometimes the case when that word is used derogatorily of other humans they have precedence in any claim to be indigenous.
In many ancient pantheistic belief systems butterflies are associated with returning spirits of dead ancestors. One can see why when they show an apparent facination with the stones of ruins or old houses but I think they are just trying to get warm.