Sometimes we need only spread out.
It is different from spreading thin.
Our souls long to stretch,
take in more oxygen
or lay on top of it.
Gliding, we take the winding
road down the staircase of air.
A dissention over each step,
floating just above circumstance.
Faith, the scaled wings of blood,
bears us up on perspectives
laden with grace.
A butterfly’s most dramatic anatomical features are its wings. They’re made of an extremely thin, transparent material called chitin stretched over a series of vein-like structures. The forewings are closer to the butterfly’s head and are roughly triangular. The hindwings are closer to the tail and are shaped like fans or seashells.
The colors and patterns come from layers of tiny scales. It’s easy to think of these as similar to fish scales, but they’re structured more like short, tiny hairs. These scales protect the wings and provide insulation. Typically, the scales on the top of a butterfly’s wings are brightly colored, while the scales and the underside are patterned for camouflage.
At first, the wings are wet and wrinkled. The butterfly has to expand and dry them as soon as it emerges from the chrysalis. To do this, it uses its body as a pump and forces fluid through a series of tube-like veins. It’s a little like inflating a balloon — as the veins fill with fluid, they slowly stretch the surface of the wings.
Photo by Roberto Gonzalez