There’s a corollary to chasing death which is a blind determination to hang on to life.We were watching a butterfly in our garden gloriously living its short span by floating ethereally from bloom and bloom like a fantastically rigged aerial sailing ship. The sailing ship analogy was to be its downfall. Drawn inexorably, as are myriad insects, to the blue of the pool its aquatic ability was shown to be wanting. When we are out in the garden creatures don’t drown in the pool. We are like the Baywatch of La Moussiere identified by a large blue net on an aluminium pole rather than orange floats and body bisecting swim suits. None shall perish on our watch but, as is always the case when that vainly assertive phrase is employed, the opposite is true and so it is that the pool is filled with the dead and the dying yet the handsome butterfly could not wait to join them. Am I right in thinking there’s a strong link to human behaviour here? The struggling victim of reversed Icarus syndrome was soon ascending, as he should have done in the first place, now unaided by wings but enmeshed in the blue plastic of the pool net. All seemed, at first, to be well. The sail like wings were folded above its head in the ingenious manner of a plane below decks on an aircraft carrier or, more accurately, like a football supporter who had erroneously anointed his hands with superglue before raising his arms above to his head to clap in admiration at his team’s derring do. This creature was now less a butterfly than a butterfoot. The wings were stuck firmly together. We lifeguards believed that if he/she ( difficult to tell) remained on a table by the back door, the wings would in time dry out and the butterfoot would fly once more. Night fell and the butterfoot had advanced to the edge of the table where, with arms raised like a high diver, it appeared to be contemplating a final suicidal dive to the gravel far below. We were not in a position to intervene in this personal decision and so we retired for the night. The morning revealed the butterfoot in pensive mood in the middle of the table looking at the large green leaf that we had filled with water under the illusion that butterfeet may have the same needs as other pets, that need being a drink of water. The water didn’t seem to please it as I now realise that the sight of water must have been bringing back bad memories. It was going to have to be surgery. The tiny pointed shard of cocktail stick that I had chosen as my separator of stuck wings must have looked alarmingly big to the tiny butterfoot and I could clearly see that it was gesticulating with its antennae that it had not signed any sort of acceptance form for this treatment and would certainly be suing the La Moussiere lifeguards. The die (bad word) was cast and to my, and the butterfoot’s, amazement the first tentative poke with the stick released that which was stuck. The wings opened to reveal their fabulous pattern and foot became fly and was gone. I have a great liking for dry sherry, so I enjoyed a chilled glass of fino with a small mussel salad by way of celebration.
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