It’s a sunny April’s day. I’m sitting inside as every other April’s day this year. I see her. She happily flies around from flower to flower, the butterfly. Funny word butterfly. Every langue I speak has a different word for this majestic creature. Most of the words I know have some common root: they might come from Latin, have a Roman background or have Germanic ancestry. But no – butterfly is said in so many different ways in the languages I understand – I can’t possibly find a common background. Curiously enough the words all describe for me some characteristic of this being. It is the epiphany of freedom, something we have been undervaluing for so long.
‘Farfalla’ as she is called in Italian, is a creature that hops happily from one place to the other. ‘Mariposa’ in Spanish sounds so majestic and beautiful. A creature that with her beautiful wings takes your breath away at each stroke of her wings. ‘Papillon’ has the same evanescence fleeting feeling in its alliterating p’s as her Italian cousin. But somehow she seems more serious, she seems to search for freedom, escaping from a heavy faith. The word must have inspired the writer of the famous French book, it’s memory of a men trying to escape his nightmare prison engraved in my mind. The Dutch ‘vlinder’ sounds playful but differently from the Italian ‘farfalla‘, she has the playfulness of a child discovering the world. And finally, the German ‘Schmetterling’ seems to be shining in the sunshine, sparkle her beautiful colours in the light.
All together these words give the full image of this insect. An insect that started out as an ugly duckling, as a hairy caterpillar undergoing the master of makeovers in its self-woven cocoon slowly becoming the most fascinating of creatures. The symbol of freedom and beauty. Both can come in different forms and mean different things to different people. But how great would it be right now to be a butterfly, flapping the red and brown wings waiting for the spring breeze and softly land down on a flower, taste its sweet nectar ready to move on to the next. No worry, no preoccupation in my mind. Just freedom, infinite freedom.