Well done to Amy, Tina et al for keeping the weekly photo challenge going when others like MB were wilting.
Keep Walking, is Amy’s photo challenge this week.
But if you do, MB wants to issue a stern warning to you all – BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU WALK!
A few weeks back, during the regional Eid public holiday, MB returned to Dubai where he had previously lived for 4 or 5 years in the relatively recent past. The August weather was its usual hot and muggy self; too much so for outdoors walking, or anything outdoorsy. But Dubai is a tourist haven and many attractions are indoors where the AC is always on. The shopping malls are enormous and have many attractions other than shopping, like ice rinks, and, MB kids you not, real snow slopes for real skiing.
Anyway, off MB went to walk around one of Dubai’s newer attractions, The Butterfly Gardens.
The butterfly gardens is made up of nine different domes covering an total area of some 2,600 SQ M. It’s home to some 15,000 species of butterflys, many rare species, and the vast array of colourful flowers and small trees and plants makes it look like something we might expect to see in the afterlife, as a friend described it to MB.
As a backdrop to MB’s Dubai butterfly story, MB needs to impart to readers that many years back, MB attended the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. It’s located in a pretty Aboriginal village called Kuranda, which is set in hill country near the city of Cairns, a boat ride from the great barrier reef. MB was fascinated to see a particular blue winged butterfly in that sancturay which was only blue in colour during flight. When it landed, it closed its wings as butterflys are wont to do, displaying only a dull brown outer-side-of-wings. So try as MB might with his very basic camera of that time, MB was unable to capture a single shot of those fairyesque blue wings in that Aboriginal village in North East Australia. The memory of that failure has remained with MB ever since.
So, knowing that MB was most likely to encounter the same blue will-o-the-wisp on his Dubai trip, he went armed to the teeth with high tech camera gear. MB felt that if he couldn’t get one decent shot of the mid-air-blue-winged-butterfly with a camera taking 10 shots per second, he would bury said camera in the Dubai desert sand and give up on his quest.
Dome Nr 1.
Thrill of thrills.
Blue, blue and more blue, dancing through the air through the flowers and plants. And only brown colour visible on landing. Yes!
MB flicked the camera to rapid fire, placed the camera to his right eye and started walking, shooting bursts of camera shutter bullets anytime something/anything blue crossed his lens.
And that’s when MB received a tap on the shoulder, from a 2m tall man of Indian origin.
MB removed the camera from his eye, noticing that the Indian man had his young son in toe. Young son was looking downwards to the ground, where MB had taken his last step. Indian dad was also pointing downwards with his index fingure, also to the spot where MB had taken his last step. Then MB moved his eyes to the same spot.
And thats when MB saw it.
MB had stood on a rare butterfly on the pathway.
Squashing it to death.
“You stood on the butterfly” said Indian man to MB, in a shocked tone; that also hinted to MB that Indian man might also call security, to deal with the butterfly killer.
Son of Indian man continued to look downwards at the butterfly corpse. Silently.
“OMG”, said MB, with a look of genuine horror on his face. And remorse.
“MB was not aware the butterflys were landing on the walking paths”, blurted out MB, only then noticing the sign that said BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU WALK.
MB and Indian man looked down again at the body. And then into the eyes of the other. Indian man seemed to be convinced of MB’s remorse, and probably at that moment decided he would not call security.
And that’s exactly when MB took that opportunity to scamper as quickly as he could, trying not to draw undue attention to his person, into the adjoining dome. Where nobody knew that MB was a killer, as he mingled with non-killers, all enjoying the aerial displays on show from other butterfly species, oblivious to the gorey happenings mere moments previously in the adjoining dome .
And that’s when MB bumped into the Philippino lady who worked with the butterflies.
She explained to MB that the entire life span of a butterfly is a mere three and half months, and only approximately 3 weeks as a living flying butterfly.
“So” said MB, his brain in overdrive, “if they only exist for 3 weeks, you must discover many dead butterflies each day in the domes???
“Yes” she replied, “many die each day”.
Now while the daily death of numerous butterflies should have filled MB’s heart with sadness, in truth, it did not. MB knew that the unfortunated victim of MB’s right shoe, would be gathered up on the following morning along with all the other deceased, and nobody would distinguish one from the other, or the manner of their demise.
MB’s heavy heart was suddenly a little lighter. Mother nature, birth and death and rebirth, would ensure that new butterflies would replaced all those gone to butterfly heaven, and all would again be right with the world.
MB failed again to get any decent shot of the inner-blue-winged butterflies. But he took it on the chin. He did not bury his camer in the Dubai desert sands. But he did say a little prayer that night for the butterfy he never got to know. The one that should have lived a few more days at least. But didn’t.
C’e la vie.