originally uploaded by theloushe.
Three more months to see the butterflies at Lewis Ginter - we went today for the first time and hopefully we'll make it back at least a couple more before the exhibit closes on October 11.
We had an interesting interaction with a staff member while there. Our arrival was right around opening time, and when we entered the butterfly enclosure, a man was there sweeping up debris. The boys and I noticed a dead butterfly on the ground and asked if it were ok to handle it. I had been cautioning the kids against touching the delicate wings of the butterflies all around us and had hoped we could examine a dead one. No such luck; apparently they collect them. The staffer apologized and we showed him two other dead ones.
A few minutes later we came across another on the ground. One of the kids pointed it out, thinking it was alive, and I said something like "no, that one's done living," and then amended, "well, almost done living," when I saw that it was only mostly dead. The staffer heard me and apologized profusely. I think he imagined that I was upset over all the dead butterflies, either because of the mess or because my kids were being exposed to so much death.
"It's because they're insects and have such a short life," he explained.
"It's ok," I shrugged, "it's part of life."
"Yeah, it is!" he replied, seeming relieved. I felt this twinge of a need to convince him that not everybody is grossed out by dead bugs, or by death in general. Instead we talked about how the critters don't get to mate in their short lives due to lack of the proper host plants, since the butterflies are from different countries and it's not permitted to breed them. I hope he doesn't feel like our visit was in any way marred. Quite the opposite is true; we learned as many interesting things via the deceased butterflies as we did from watching their younger, more animated counterparts.