Gill Henwood. Photo of Green Hairstreak Butterfly. Cumbria.
My friend Gill Henwood has sent me this photo of a Green Hairstreak Butterfly. It was discovered on a track in cleared woodland fells between Coniston and Hawkshead in the Lake District last Saturday. In that part of the world it is a very rare find, Gill tells me.
Of the butterfly itself she says:
that it is about 30mm wingspan, so half that when the wings are closed. Hence the impressionist close up photo with an iPhone 12 mini. This is adequate for reporting to Butterfly Conservation Cumbria or iRecord, and carrying a smart phone whilst dog walking means the opportunity can be captured- sometimes- if a tiny creature pauses long enough ( they often don’t!).
Amazing striped antennae and legs that were not visible with the naked eye. The ring-tailed lemur of butterflies!
In many cultures, the butterfly has a deep connection with souls. For some, the butterfly’s spiritual meaning resonates with the Christian belief of Ascension (of Christ) and also to creativity, pulsating joy, transformation and spiritual re-birth or growth.
It is also a sign of beauty and a symbol of hope and endurance as it flies from flower to flower. Butterflies bring joy to a garden, a country path and, even round here at present to a building site a dusting of colour.
Gill says that what she is presenting us with in her image is not so much a portrait but
“a glimpse of a moment of ‘gift’ in a sighting along the way. “. It’s an opportunity to share the exhilaration of the moment with those who can’t be up on the Cumbrian fells.”
In this period of time when so much has been taken from us and when we don’t yet understand what the ‘new normal’ is; when what we saw as important in our lives is being challenged and questioned, we need these moments of ‘gift.’ Nature has been working hard this year to show us something of ‘their world’.
David Hockney’s new book, written in collaboration with Martin Gayford, Spring cannot be cancelled’, tries to share that sense of learning deeply from the things around us, particularly the things of Nature and creation.
It is perhaps ironic that at a time when we are threatening so much of creation with extinction, birds, animals, bees, butterflies and the creativity of plants are coming to our rescue. ‘Cheer up!’ they seem to say. ‘There is so much of value that you are missing and which you didn’t see as Important.”
Now perhaps we may, which is why we must always be on the lookout for those moments of gift to be enjoyed and through which we might glimpse a different, better and more truthful life. A life of wonder, awe and inspiration. A life of breathtaking beauty and yet, a simpler life.
God gives us these glimpses of beauty, of the gift of His creative love.
As Gill suggests. “Enjoy the gift of the glimpse xx”
I am grateful for some words of St. John of the Cross who wrote which carry a profound truth…
God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty.
He can even do it to us!
[Mr G and Gill]