Field Trip – The Butterfly Pavilion

I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man. —Chuang-Tzu

White Peacock Photo By: Paula Nixon

White Peacock
Photo By: Paula Nixon

Butterflies and flowers.  Sunlight and  shade.

There’s no better place to start a Tuesday morning than the Albuquerque BioPark’s Butterfly Pavilion.

I carefully closed the second of two screen doors behind me and entered the realm of giant swallowtails, zebra longwings, and common buckeyes.

A pale orange Julia lit on my jacket—a fleeting brooch—gone as quickly as it had appeared.

Morning glories and lantana, blanket flowers and butterfly bushes, all in full bloom.  So lovely and quiet. If only I could take up residence here for the summer:  a desk, a pad of paper, and half a dozen sharpened pencils.

Photo Credit: Paula Nixon

Photo Credit: Paula Nixon

It’s a world created especially for lepidoptera—moths and butterflies.  They are safe in here except . . . a small boy knelt next to a blue butterfly on the floor.  His mother cautioned—he’s just resting; don’t squish him.

On my way out I paused to admire three luna moths clinging to a butterfly net propped up against the wall.  The opposite of butterflies, moths are active at night.  These pale green beauties will bide their time, waiting until the gardens have gone quiet and the sun has set.  Then they will take flight, up into the trees to look for mates.

Before leaving I asked one of the docents to made sure I wasn’t harboring any hitchhikers. Outside the screens, the world is not so friendly to the winged creatures.  Pesticides and development continue to wipe out their habitat, threatening their survival.

On the path through the gardens I stopped at the Monarch Waystation planted with milkweed and nectar flowers, a place for butterflies to rest and feed.

It’s one thing we can all do—provide refuge on our patios and in our backyards.  The reward: flowers and butterflies.








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