On my way to the library this morning my eye was drawn to something coin-sized and colourful lying in the road. From a distance it reminded me of an opal broach my grandmother used to wear when I was a child. I waited for the traffic to pass and walked over to check it out.
As I drew closer it looked like a small cluster of ebony rose petals. Blackened blotches streaked with swishes of vivid red and blue.
But it wasn't flower petals.
It was a butterfly.
At first I thought it was dead. But then I saw its legs move. And I picked it up and carried it to the footpath. For a moment I hoped it might have just been stunned. But on closer inspection I realised it was badly injured.
I felt a sense of real sadness looking at this beautiful creature dying in the palm of my hand. And I was torn as to what to do with it.
In the end I thought it best to put it out of its misery.
But afterwards, I felt a stinging sense of grief, which seemed out of all proportion in response to a dead insect. To a butterfly dying in the street...
And then it struck me that this butterfly, so often the symbol of life and how fleeting it is, was significant in many ways. Not the least of which to remind me that all life is like that.
Fragile. Impermanent. Interconnected.