They say that butterflies represent the human soul. Every time a chrysalis bursts open a new soul is born – carried forth by the butterfly on whose transitory wings it perches. This, I think is rather lovely and bestows a generous amount of responsibility onto such a fleeting insect! They have a few, short days to realise their purpose. The humble butterfly also carries the weight of chaos theory – the idea that something so small as a butterfly beating its wings can change the course of events via a ripple effect. The notion that the smallest of occurrences can lead to a complete divergence in course.
My sister has a beautiful butterfly that she bought at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. I was so envious when she brought it home, its iridescent blue shone out through the display box and I was enraptured.
So, when I went to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History I was delighted to see lots of butterflies on display. They really are lovely to look at and I marvelled at nature’s intelligence and aesthetic vision at having produced such creatures. Whether these small insects can cause chaos and change the course of history I am not sure but looking closely at the shining brilliance of their wings I like to think that my soul was butterfly-borne, even if in my dreams.