How lucky are insects to hardly ever be caged like birds, deprived of their ability to fly. I can hardly believe it’s considered an humane practice at all. I guess that’s the trouble with our word “humane.” It’s contemplated much less when humans aren’t the ones involved.
I just finished watching one of the videos capturing insect fly offs. And I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it. I’ve watched quite a few slow motion videos, but never have thought to watch insects. It’s an entirely different perspective on the event. Seeing insects fly in real life, I tend to generalize their flight habits: a pattern like that of a hospital heart monitor- a leap up, drop down, leap up, flatten out, wings batting sporadically instead of continuously, their little bodies just going along for the ride. I do marvel at it, but I generalize the flight of all of the insects together. It became clear, however, when I watched them in slow motion that each is very different.
I was most taken by the movement of the butterfly. In person, the butterfly seems to fly so delicately. Very gentle, soft, cute motions. Happy-go-lucky, too, and reminiscent of a kind of fairy. I get a little afraid watching them because they appear so vulnerable and unsuspecting of any potential attacker. And then I envision the one I’m watching getting flattened to the ground. I’m not quite sure by what. But the slow motion video shows a completely different image. Suddenly the butterfly is the most powerful creature I’ve ever seen. The flap of its wings is more commanding than any ocean wave. The range of motion is incredible. The front tip starts to dip down and then the wing appears to bend over itself as the ripple reverberates through the full wing. And the wings themselves are just huge, almost appearing too big for that little body. As I watch I can imagine the sound of this great movement. Surely it must be way louder then any airplane. More woosh-y too. Not mechanical sounding at all, but very fluid and very loud. I wonder how the butterfly feels about creating such a ruckus. My real life experience would tell me the butterfly is a bit embarrassed about it. The butterfly doesn’t like all that attention. The butterfly doesn’t want to come off as obnoxious. But after watching the flight in slow motion, I can say pretty confidently that the butterfly loves the sound she makes. It suits her, she thinks.