I love butterflies. I collected them when I was younger. I have painted, photographed and purchased all sorts of things with butterfly motifs. My notepads and journals have butterflies painted or drawn on them. I planted a butterfly plant a few years ago and other colorful shrubs and bushes that are supposed to attract butterflies but I have not seem very many fluttering about this season. I suppose that the cicadas took center stage for a few weeks and perhaps scared them away. They certainly scared me with those big red bulging eyes. We had millions flying all over the place. But the cicadas are gone now. I do not understand that despite all my efforts to surround my house with the right blooms the butterflies are so scarce. Are they just picky about where they visit?
Butterflies are truly exquisite. The textures and the diversity of their colors must be the inspiration of fashion designers. I always wondered why they are called butterflies. As I searched for an answer I would get all kinds of responses. They are obviously called different names in different languages. For example in Spanish they are called Mariposa. In Russian, they are called “babochka”. From the Dutch we get botervlieg and boterschijte. The French call these beautiful and mysterious creatures papillon. I can’t figure out what the linguistic similarities might be. But the story is that butterflies get their name because they did flutter by. The native Americans called them fluttering wings. My mother believed that butterflies were souls getting ready to go to heaven. That thought stayed with me for a long time. I thought it was a good explanation as any. When I saw a white butterfly I imagines it to be an angel visiting. In some cultures they probably would not be deserving of going to heaven since they were thought to be witches stealing butter at night. Thus the name butterfly.
The truth is that I do not think anyone knows for certain why these aerodynamic insects are called butterflies. I do believe that they must be the envy of all the other flying or fluttering bugs out there. Give me a butterfly hovering or standing on my shoulder any time. I am so sorry; I am still freaked out with the cicadas that invaded my house a few weeks ago. I would run to the car with an umbrella covering me; that is how bad it became.
Anyway, butterflies are free and they do have a trajectory to travel sometimes which is amazing to me. I suppose this is why I enjoyed watching them so much as a child. It must be a wonderful thing to have nothing to do but randomly wander around somebody’s garden picking up a little pollen here and there. I am definitely determined to spruce up my garden to attract as many of them as I can. All I want is to enjoy the view. The pictures below are of my butterfly plant. Do you have any ideas about why butterflies are called as such. Send us a comment or respond on twitter.