Time Slowed Down

Dorsal and ventral views of museum specimen, Morpho menelaus, Peru (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
Dorsal and ventral views of museum specimen, Morpho menelaus, subspecies from Peru (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The most beautiful butterfly I have ever seen lives in the jungles of Central and South America.

The blue morpho (Morpho menelaus) is as large as my open hand, iridescent blue above and patterned brown below.  When it flies, sunlight winks blue on its open wings.  On the upstroke it shines gold.

In Panama we were transfixed when blue morphos appeared one by one above the road, floating toward and over us.  They defied our efforts at photography so I looked for a video on YouTube.

Slow motion videos are the only ones that match my memory of morphos. (We did not see the black-blue butterfly in this video, only the all-blue one.)


In fact they flew rather fast.  You can see in this video how hard it is to keep up with one.


My memory of these butterflies is in slow motion because my brain was busy processing the new and beautiful experience.  This happens to all of us when we focus on new information.  (Read more here about our perception of time. )

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy the beauty of nature.

When I watch blue morphos time slows down.


(photo from Wikimedia Commons; click on the image to see the original.  All videos from YouTube; click on the YouTube logos to see the videos full screen)

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