Life’s infinite colors
Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Photo of Chris in ground of Earthship

Written by Chris

August 11, 2009

seen at the cascades of Del Umbuni

seen at the cascades of Del Umbuni

Getting on the bus, I settled into the sun baked seat, humidity rising. The bus sits for 10 minutes before the departure time and beads of sweet begin to form on the forehead. A popsicle vendor dressed in blue and orange hops on and looks like a savior for the moment. Searching for 10 cents I find myself drinking down the cool sweet liquid as the bus lurches forward and out of Tena, Ecuador.

Tena is a small town located in the Orient, in the northwest part of the country, sitting on the western frontier of the Ecuadorian jungle and larger Amazon basin. I am heading to a group of waterfalls. Although common throughout Ecuador, something unique continually pulls me back to these cascades. Perhaps it is the free fall of water exhibiting gravity in its most awesome visual form, or perhaps the constant pounding noise and force of water coming over the edge as if proclaiming the force of nature as one of the only true constants.

            The bus drops me off on the road and I begin to make my way to the falls with two fellow travelers whom I had only met the night before. I am instantly taken in by the fluttering wings of butterflies. They float and glide through sun spots shining through the canopy and back into shadows cast in every direction from incessant vegetation growing upon itself, consuming itself to reach the light. I try and snap a photo here and there, mostly unsuccessfully as the light creatures slowly flap their wings a few times upon landing before fluttering back into a dance among their peers in the mid day sweltering heat. I do get a photo, here, there…and as I look at the photo to see if my catch was successful, I am pulled into a trance of symmetry, color, and beauty. It is as if an artist used the most vivid and vibrant colors known to man to paint a perfect mirror image.

 What begins as a curiosity turns into a feverish attempt as I try to capture the unique beauty of each differently shaped and colored four winged insect. Reaching the falls, I am able to swim and recover from the humid dense jungle, already claiming me for her own as she speckles me with insect bites and consumes me by mud. In this refreshed state under the falls, I watch as blue and orange butterflies mingle in the light. Butterflies are inherently a unique creature living most of their life in an alternate state as caterpillars before metamorphosis into the flying form which can last anywhere from a week to a year. They are incredibly unique, symmetrical and colorful and yet, it may only last for a matter of days. I think to myself, “It is for reproduction, selection, attraction, or illusion”, the biologist within says it is indeed for these reasons. But each is unique and so different from each other. As I come out of the water and swirls of neon green flutter around me, a more fulfilling purpose or idea comes to me.

Life, especially seen through a creature such as the butterfly reflects the depth and intensity with which it carries itself. Each species will be beautiful and unique because it is feasible over time and space and just when you think every niche has been fulfilled or every pattern seen, another creature flutters past. It is in these instances that life truly shows how it takes every advantage to live, grow, and exist at the limits of the physical  within the limits this earth has to offer.

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