Phipps Conservatory runs a butterfly exhibit from spring to autumn each year. Mesh curtains and air fans prevent butterflies from escaping their enclosure. Due to a strange irony in the arrangement of the conservatory’s rooms, the orchid exhibit is just across the hall. Orchids have proven to be irrestible to butterflies which do their best to reach them.
I found one of the swallowtails on the ground exhausted by the long flight with the air currents created by the fans. It was in the perfect position to be trampled by the next group of visitors. I knew that touching butterflies is not permitted and can be harmful to them. But . . . there was nothing against a butterfuly touching me, so I offered it a finger. I was surprised by the eagerness with which all six of its tiny legs embraced my finger. I transported it to the nearest plant and left it there to rest. Several minutes later it disappeared into the exhibit.
Upon leaving the conservatory I felt so good that I found the courage to endure the raised eyebrows of a carousel token collector and indulged in a solitary ride on a magnificent sea dragon.
the child hugs
a budding sapling