THE STONE AND THE BUTTERFLY
Once upon a time there was a butterfly.
Full of colors, it flew and it was light, and you saw it, and thought it was serene and looking for flowers. As if it were a small rainbow in its bumpy flight, large wings like lights going on and off.
As a matter of fact, it was praying, a prayer of envy and regret. And it prayed for his Lord, and “Lord,” he said, “look at that stone. My life only lasts a day, a day of hidden dangers and fears and I will never see my children. The life of that stone will be for millennia, millennia of quiet peace, without the panic of beaks, hooks and cobwebs. ”
– And while it thus prayed, the butterfly wept and did not hear. It did not listen to the stone that was praying, a heartfelt and sad prayer. – “Lord,” said the stone, “Lord! For millions of years I have been under the ground, hidden to the glory of the Sun. And when at last I saw you, O Sun, I saw you just to know that you are so far away. And I see myself, motionless, dusty and gray. And I see butterflies, lively and colorful and vividly brilliant. One day something will cover me, and I’ll can do nothing but recall; remember a day of light, and cry. ”
– Thus prayed the stone and thus prayed the butterfly, and the Lord smiled. And the butterfly listened to the prayers of the stone, and the stone listened to the butterfly. And they began to speak, and the butterfly verbalized rivers and distant woods, insects and strange relatives, and had grandparents, grandparents of its grandparents and future grandchildren. And the stone pictured the cousins of meteorites, the secrets of the mountains, the birth of crystals. – And the butterfly said that its remains would become dust, and dust stone, and that it too, one day would know. And the stone said that its dust would become flower, and flower butterfly, and that it, too, would one day fly. – And the Lord listened to these words, and knew they were words of love. The butterfly wanted to become a stone, and the stone a butterfly, and the Lord was moved and smiled, and smiling, the Lord appeased them. And it is thus that Opal was born, you’ll never know if it’s a stone turned into a butterfly or whether it is a butterfly turned into a stone.
CORAL, IVORY, PEARLS, TURTLE
A unique chapter to talk about very different things. Gemology books, embarrassed, relegate them into specific sections when organic material is to be considered. Of the latter we too deal in a separate chapter. It is about beautiful ornamental objects, especially designed for those who believe in the beauty of vivisection. At one time, even the numerical relationship between men and animals was absolutely different from the present, when to kill a few elephants so as to make a few tusk masterpieces did not create too much disruption in the natural order of things. Nowadays, the last living specimens of these breeds are pursued, and with their remains, squalid articles for tourists are made; not even works of art. Natural pearl banks have nearly been depleted in almost all seas; therefore they are “cultured”. Pearls are not “cultured”, but “bred”, as they are animals that a ruthless fashion has sentenced to a vivisection that lasts a lifetime. Even coral reefs are at quite near their depletion, and farming is not economically viable for long periods of time (about twenty years) which the colony requires to grow. Here, too, we speak of “branches” instead of “exoskeletons” to mystify a tragic and sordid reality. For elephants and turtles, it is unknown whether our grandchildren will be able to see them. Since the export of ivory and tortoise has been prohibited in the places of “production”, consumption of these “assets” has increased. Death for defense or for food, is part of the natural order. Death for fun or for landscaping, is only part of human culture; one of its worst aspects.
AN AMBER PEBBLE
The flight of many insects has an exquisitely nuptial character. The sprouting of wings corresponds to the sexually mature phase, and the nuptial flight is a euphoria typical of hundreds of thousands of different species of insects. The term “nuptial flight” (to get married, for human beings, in italian is, literally, ‘to fly together with’); the same is valid for ‘honeymoon’, both have the same meaning of propagating the species in space and perpetuating it in time. Different ways exist to express one’s availability to the rite of the continuation of the species. Many insects flutter from the cocoon only to mate, never to feed themselves, to then die after having laid the fertilized eggs. For others, it is natural that the female eat her husband after mating, and even during this same event. There are cases in which more males fertilize the eggs of a single female, and where more females are the harem of a single male. Many ants and termites have a very singular behavior. At one point, the queen starts to produce eggs which will generate perfectly gendered beings. When females, completed the last molt, are ready for the nuptial flight, swarm in flight in great amounts out of their anthills. They will begin to launch their subtle vibration that we are not even sure whether it is a sound or a scent or something else, and males will begin to follow these calls. Very early, their flight ends, and where they land on the ground, there they will establish a new hive. Then comes the male, they mate, and their wings are torn off no longer needed. The glory of the sun kissed such marriage for a minute, higher than the blades of grass, and higher than the trees. For the rest of their lives, and for myriads of sterile generations, all life will be carried out under the earth, or with its direct contact. As often happens, many are those who leave, and few are those who arrive at their destination. Predatory insects of various kinds and nature are waiting impatiently for the winged ants to come out of their anthills in their hundreds to obtain their preys. In the anthill, or in the columns that run out in apparent migration, they are protected by their own specialization. In their short and clumsy flight, they are completely inexperienced and, in all probability, in their urge for love they do not care to escape any danger. This is a common feature to all animal species: in front of the pressure for love, every other problem is set aside; cowards become bold, the prudent turns into arrogant, heroes are tamed, the gentle develop to be fierce, alertness decreases, the most elementary norms of wisdom are forgotten, no risk and ranger matters at all.
After all, the act of love is something that ties us to eternity, and all danger is contingent. For this reason, any one being, for love, can commit something crazy. And this ant, along with thousands of other ants, had started to fly the day after the rain, whence the heavy rain had broken some branches in the forest of conifers and the ant, inebriated by the odours in the air and by through the blind forces of instinct, does what it never would have done walking in queue with the rest of its colony. It settles close to a shining drop of resin, and launches its mating call, and the flock males comes and even two of these are entangled in this sticky resin which envelopes them all completely. And their cry and longing for love and death cry is crystallized in this amber pebble, which after thousands of centuries, happens to be on my desk, and I am moved by their story. The sacrifices of virgins at the altar of the Sun also occur among insects. They say that insects, lower animals, don’t show their emotions with different expressions. Maybe. But I feel that the ant went on to send its call even when it was already entangled, and I think that it is still sent forth today. And the two males, instead of trying to escape the sticky resin, seem to swim in it to reach the female as first. The power of love has moved them to act to perpetuate their species. Amber has immortalized their perfect bodies and made them incorruptible; crystallizing their desperate and pure cry and longing for love, and we are now in the position to observe small great love tragedies of millions of years ago. And we can understand that the same insects that inhabit our gardens, populated the gardens of millions of years ago; and the same forces of nature continue to stir things and minds. And under the illusory veil of cynicism, malice and calculation that seems to envelop humanity, stirs an ocean of love that seeks only the right time to manifest and express itself. And after a particularly rainy day, humanity will perhaps come out of its closed anthill, out of its closed cities, its artificial cultural and social constraints, its thousands of stupid conditionings, and will fly with the spirit finally free towards the glorious Sun, at the cost of burning its wings, at the cost of sacrificing its comfort, safety and well-being and illusions of peace of mind, at the cost of its own miserable life on earth for the glory of an eternal life.