Friday, January 22

butterflies and desire




I got back downtown to the Academy of Natural Science the other afternoon. There are a lot of creepy stuffed animals there in sort of large dioramas. Those I don't like much. But they have a little butterfly garden area inside with lots of butterflies and moths from exotic places (as in, not native.)  And let me tell you, the guy who works there is being wasted. Butterfly Mike really ought to be living in Costa Rica or Ecuador and getting to really live the life instead of living in a small room stuffed with lantana, spouting wonderful stories (about rogue wasps who unexpectedly emerge from chrysalises and must be popped into the deep freeze) and rolling Latin names off his tongue to anyone who makes it past the stuffed polar bear and musk oxen and to the live butterfly rooms.  Once there, one's coat must come off.  It's a hearty 80-something with clouds of mist blowing around. The Blue Morphos are careening by on shocking wings. Rotting bananas are delectably set around in various spots to tempt the little guys to take a rest so I can stare.  Apparently there are no plants there that match any of the species' laying plants, since they're not native and aren't supposed to breed. As in, the lovelies spend all of their 1-3 weeks of life drumming around, looking for their plant upon which to lay their eggs and feel fulfilled. Only, they never find it cause it isn't there. I found this rather poignant. I also found poignant the examples of mother-of-pearl shells made into buttons, a fashion in the 1920's which almost wiped out those little shell-dwellers, the (um, stuffed) baby panda, and the area of stuffed endangered animals. Stuffed endangered animals.  Hmm.

Thank goodness for Butterfly Mike.