Spider on Sky

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We can learn a lot from spiders.

For example: how to escape gravity. That is not to say we are all trapeze artists, capable of dancing through the air on silken cords. But rather to understand how to balance on a knife’s edge, to find a home and comfort millimeters from falling. How to resist the pull and instead keep one’s self aloft by the sheer sticky strength of will.

The value of patience, of waiting for hours on end in soft blanketed silence, statuesque, rooting yourself in the atmosphere, of becoming one with the sky. Perhaps then you learn to feel yourself as mere atoms, watch your fingertips become carbon, oxygen, hydrogen. Perhaps after a while you become a mere collage of electrons bound by surface tension, ready to evaporate at the slightest touch.

Depending less on one’s eyes, too. Understanding the world through touch and vibration. Knowing how we move. What a gift it would be to be fully conscious of every step through the world, of every brush with life.

Also, interconnectedness. Each strand of the house is built on the other is built on the other but is not codependent. They can exist half-formed and broken; they can form whole. It is circular. It all comes back to itself.

 

Blue

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The Blues are a subgroup of the family Lycaenidae, which comprise some 30% of butterflies species worldwide. They are a pain in the butt.

The first problem: they’re tiny. They hold the smallest butterfly in the world – the grass jewel – and often the difference between species comes to one spot on the hindwing that you can’t even see anyways. And they never stop moving.

Second problem: they’re also beautiful, but you never see that. (See point 1.) Their uper wings are a stunning blue in the right light. Unfortunately, even if the light is present, to see one sunbathing and stay still long enough for you to get close is an enormous feat of patience.

Mostly it comes down to hoping, and waiting. So this sighting, in the Western Ghats, made me extremely happy. 🙂

Lady of the Flowers

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Painted Ladies are the most widely distributed butterfly: found on every continent except for Antarctica and Australia, they’re so ubiquitous even halfway across the world, in a continent I was totally unfamiliar with, they were the sole butterfly I managed to identify in Jordan. This individual was spotted at the other end of the continental plate, in the Himalayas; you can see its long, thin proboscis feeding on the orange flower that just happens to complement the subtle colors on its wings. Sometimes Nature selects her palette perfectly.

The Pansy’s Pose

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I first saw a blue pansy in the butterfly field guide I picked up on a whim at a stall from our local nature society. It captivated me: I found the brilliance of its colors, elegance in its wings immensely attractive, and vowed to see it in Singapore.

It would be years (well, two) before I clapped eyes on it there – finally, it was at a carpark, of all places, in a patch of grass that tawny costers and pansies, amongst others, had decided to colonize in unusually dense numbers on an unusually hot day. (Then again, this is Singapore we’re talking. Everyday is unusually hot.)

In Bangalore, however, I was walking one day when I noticed a ragged individual in a bush. It was a happy experience, to say the least – surreal, the fact that something that pretty was right there.

And then, predictably, I found it everywhere from then on. Ah well. I’m not complaining.

Reed Life

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Pulau Ubin is the last rustic island in Singapore. Of course, here, the definition of rustic is flexible – but Ubin is about as rustic as you can get. There’s no highway connecting it to the mainland: instead, you take a bumboat to get there. People still go fishing for their food. The coconuts grow there, not Thailand. You can camp. You can hike.

Forests still remain on the island; mangroves are there, too, as are seagrass meadows where dugongs graze. It’s a slower pace of life out there, in the reeds where dragonflies roam. Sometimes you feel as if the world contains just the blue sky, and the trees, and you.