My butterfly friend

I often feel absurdly pleased when an animal “likes” me — especially if it’s an animal that doesn’t typically like people. You know, like the dog that comes over with her tail wagging and the owner says, “Oh, Abby doesn’t usually *like* men.”

But how many people have had a butterfly befriend them? (Okay, so maybe it’s more common that I’d like to believe, but I don’t want to know if that’s true.)

We were having lunch at Hannegan Pass in the beautiful Cascade Mountains, and I saw this cool little blue butterfly. It did that random fluttery thing butterflies do and fluttered its way to where I stood admiring the view. As it flew close to me, I held out my left hand. I guess I just did it out of a futile hope that the butterfly would land there, but I was still surprised when it ended up settling on my index finger.

Blue butterfly

My butterfly friend, Oscar

He (Hey, how the heck am I supposed to know if it was male or female? [flips coin] Male.) just stayed there and did whatever it is that butterflies do when they’re not fluttering or eating sugar. At first I tried to be so careful not to move too much because I *wanted* him to hang out on my finger. But, after minutes passed and he just stayed there, I began to move around, walking in the little meadow in which we found ourselves.

The whole time he stayed, clinging with his six little white legs, enjoying (I hope) the ride, and I took pictures, showed him to my hiking buddy, and was amazed at how long this tiny little creature seemed content to hang with me.

So, why was I so tickled by this? I mean, is it really such a significant thing to have a bug land on me? But, it was a butterfly, a beautiful thing. It was also more rare than, say, the flies that had no problem paying us all too much attention at times during our hike. And, its attentions were more gentle, more sublime (at least, so I felt in my fuzzy little brain).

It’s as if I was being honored by the little fella. Here was a living being, much smaller than me, who trusted me enough to rest on my finger. And, maybe there was some weird background idea that animals (even butterflies!) are somehow able to sense the innate goodness (or badness) in a person, so this funny blue critter hanging out on my finger was almost a sort of stamp of approval, like, “Hey, this guy’s alright.”

And maybe with our pets, or with the animals we encounter in nature, we can imagine some spark of consciousness that is not bogged down with all the crazy human crap that fills our minds. “I like you.” “You scare me.” Simple, straightforward.

Or, maybe I just want to be one of the few, the proud, the liked-by-butterflies…