Arts

The Kind of Planet This Is

What if the sun got hungry, or the earth did? Where would she go for a top up? How about off to the local lilac?

Western Tiger Swallowtail + Lilac + Sun = Afternoon

Or you could dice it up like this: Afternoon + Sun + Lilac = Western Tiger Swallowtail.

I mean, if they’re there together, they’re there together, right, no matter in what order they are observed? Isn’t the moment the point? Well, I might think so, but in contemporary courtly language, talk like this is a no-no, because (the belief is), it humanizes the butterfly. The preferred form at court is this: “A  Papilio rutulus extracts nectar from the flowers of a Syringa vulgarism.” The curious thing about that despite all its objectivity and specificity (or maybe because of it) it humanizes the butterfly, too, with the added complication that it misses the moment. It’s all about the individual insect — surely a little bit of humanization is going on there.

Western Tiger Swallowtail Elsewhere in the Moment That is the World

But it’s the same moment.

The camera, of course, is a perfect little representation of the scientific point of view. It is excellent at taking a telescope to the moment and seeing only a little of it at a time. Viewers are left to put it together. This is all very 19th century.

Visual Representation of the Photographic-19th Century Method

A beautiful thing, indeed, and oh-so-seductive. Eventually by this procedure, the butterfly will be reconstructed in depth and with understanding. Faith helps, and government or corporate funding. (Hence the courtly language.)

I suggest that faith is as flittery as a butterfly, and the imagination concentrating on treating it most objectively might just miss this, though.

Taking Flight

Lilac with butterfly wings spread and catching the sun.

That’s the kind of planet this is. It is one moment, all at once.

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