Mountains, Nature

Butterflies in mountains…

Butterflies of Himalaya

Butterflies go deep, quite deep, maybe simply on the dint of the remarkable transitions they display that for millennia have flummoxed the best of minds… the Greeks and Indians ascribed the transformation akin to the transmigration of the human soul… palingenesis… Zhuang Zhou scratched his head, perplexed with this butterfly dream that seems to snowball into matters of life and death… to think that Lepidoptera could spin metaphors on epistemological scepticism… in habitats of the mind though, animals frequently transcend from competitors in natural spaces to interpreters of the supernatural…

Mountains intimidate butterflies, their symbolism not unique but just another philosophical interpretation amongst hundreds, from mountaintops to  rivers to cairns… the living are superseded by the inanimate there when it comes to these large undulations… longevity seems to lie in the stasis, and the rest, including butterflies, are nothing but perfunctory decorations, tinsels to mark a change in seasons…

Yet butterflies are not lost in the narrative of the mountains… the vast landscapes being the tomes of natural history, mammals their protagonists playing in a canvas of forests and meadows, birds being the balladeers… butterflies are haikus, their short, transient existences etching a defiant song to the severity of the elements, while surfing the winds they still remain close to the ground, as the bugs toil through the roots they seek answers from flowers, bequeathing colours to the soil before the birds and reptiles make a quick meal out of their fickle dispositions…

  • Butterflies of Himalaya
    Sorrel sapphire (Heliophorus sena)

In times of wars and holocausts, butterflies, on the dint of their contrasts against grey, bleak outlooks of tragedies in urban surroundings symbolize hope… messengers from the angels, yet they seem to be laden with a task too heavy… in the flowering meadows of spring and autumn, they are truly home, unburdened by symbolisms, flitting from flower from flower and sometimes involuntary whipped across a rockface by a sudden draft…

There is a restiveness in butterflies that contradicts the overall sedate nature of the mountains (which, in fact, is the way of the caterpillar)… but like mountaineers, butterflies seem to know there is only so much one can achieve toeing the line… to reach the summit, there comes a time when one has to throw caution to the winds…  

Musings on butterflies in the mountains, travels across Western Himalaya

Author: Parth Joshi

Allured by the outdoors, the author is made up in parts of that quintessential lost soul wreathing under the pangs of biophilia in a desk job, a wannabe elegist mostly ending up in dungeons of poetasters and an optimist waiting for the senility of the modern world to fade away while sampling shoots and leaves. In saner times, he has a keen interest in areas pertaining to tourism, history, agriculture and climate change, especially with respect to historical interpretations, emerging technologies and future livelihoods. An avid trekker, runner, cyclist, birder and photographer, he is more often than not found gloating over anything hinterland, on foot or over computer monitors, and fantasizing solutions that can foster inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods for communities at the grassroots.

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