Stephanie Fong, Zachary Fazio, Landis Masnor, and Renee Meschi are Shimer students participating in the Shimer Summer Internship Program. They regularly post updates about their internship experience.
This post is from Renee Meschi who is interning at the Montezuma Gardens Bed & Breakfast and Butterfly Garden in Costa Rica. The following post relates to her studies in lepidopterology and entomology in the gardens.
(Please note: you may need to watch this video in YouTube because of music licensing issues)
This really goes to show that nature can be harsh; it is so difficult to watch butterflies emerge from their chrysalises after months of preparation, only to die from something as simple as wing malformation.
It feels unfair to me to think that these butterflies will never get to experience flight, which is the pinnacle of their existence.
Maybe I was projecting, but I thought I could imagine what they felt; like when I am sitting in one position for a very long time, and it hurts to unfold my limbs, or the pain I feel in my neck after I sleep without a pillow.
Maybe it is like getting up early in the morning, and the bed is still warm. On the soles of my bare feet, the tile feels frozen. I still have that chill from the drop of body temperature that happens during sleep.
"Just a few more minutes," I think, settling back underneath the covers.
And so, after a couple of drowsy flutters, their wings slowly contract back into the shape of a used ball of Kleenex.
"Just a few more minutes..."
The butterflies only have a small window of time, however, before their wings harden and stay frozen like that forever, thus depriving them of the chance to ever fly!
I know this...but do they?
The answer is they know it on a level deeper than I ever could.
I spent hours trying to coax their wings open, only to come to the conclusion that it is their metamorphosis, not mine; there is only so much I can do. I can't pump the hemolymph through their wings; they have to.
For this reason, working in the butterfly garden is meditative and metaphorical.
I will post again with some happier stories, once some new butterflies emerge!