At the Butterfly House

The mere thought—a museum facility for butterflies?—tickles the imagination. Especially so in the depths of January, the dark season of grudging light, offering back mere seconds daily toward the far-off abundance of spring.

But here it is, just blocks from my home, tucked in among the boundless trees, a wintry oasis of heat and humidity and the seemingly aimless flapping of wings, their bearers zigging and zagging through the weighty air, all sublime brilliance and self-possession, a purity of jazz in flight, never missing a beat…


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


Love is like a butterfly: It goes where it pleases and pleases wherever it goes.—Anonymous


Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. —Muhammad Ali


As my love gave chase to a butterfly/ So did I give chase to love/ Now here where she laughed when it slipped her grasp/ I cry to the clouds above. —Keith Holyoak


If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.—Anonymous


What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.—Richard Bach


The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.—George Carlin


But these are flowers that fly and all but sing.—Robert Frost


Bees sip honey from flowers and hum their thanks when they leave. The gaudy butterfly is sure that the flowers owe thanks to him.—Rabindranath Tagore


Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.—Nathaniel Hawthorne


Lift me up so high/Watch me fly away/Would you give me life/Like a butterfly?


Check out this blog’s public page on Facebook for 1-minute snippets of wisdom and other musings from the world’s great thinkers and artists, accompanied by lovely photography.

Deep appreciation to the photographers! Unless otherwise stated, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing.

Elizabeth Haslam, whose photos (except for the books) grace the rotating banner at top of page.

Library books photo by Larry Rose, all rights reserved, contact:

All butterfly photos and orchid by Andrew Hidas

Many thanks to the butterflies and all their human helpers who made this magical morning possible. See more at

12 comments to At the Butterfly House

  • Robert Spencer  says:

    Drew, your butterfly photos are remarkably beautiful. But then again a butterfly colors are easy on the eyes. Once at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in its Rain Forest exhibit, one filled with exotic birds, plants and a four-story waterfall, there was a child in a wheel chair who marveled and laughed when several of them alighted on his arms and head. It’s a monarch moment I will never forget.

    • Andrew Hidas  says:

      You’re right, Robert—it’s hard to go wrong with butterflies, blazing orange sunsets, puppy closeups and the like. My only advantage here was being tall enough to stretch up and snag a few of these guys in the upper reaches, especially valuable given the lack of an effective zoom on my iPhone! (My only complaint about its otherwise quite remarkable capabilities….)

      Also wanted to salute that “monarch moment” you cited. Unforgettable indeed—in all the best ways.

  • Marilyn  says:

    Love this place and so did my mother – I need to get back there!

    • Andrew Hidas  says:

      Let’s make a date, Marilyn! We’re thinking to become Museum members so we can walk on up and through there regularly. Was hoping that would allow for some relationship building with some of these winged friends, but given that they live anywhere from a few days, generally up to a month, and in some cases, up to nine months, that might be challenging. O, fragile & fleeting & beautiful life!!

      • Frank  says:

        Beautiful, Drew. What a fantastic wine tee find!

  • Kathy Windrem  says:

    Thank you for starting my day off with such beauty and joy! I don’t know if I like the photos or the sayings better…….how wonderful to have both.

    • Andrew Hidas  says:

      Very happy to have a hand in launching your day, Kathy! Thanks for letting me know.

  • Bruce Curran  says:

    Andrew, fabulous photos and nice words of wisdom. I was reminded of the entomological version of Ali’s phrase while looking at the photos……” Float like a lepidoptera sting like a hymenoptera”

  • Harriet  says:

    Andrew, that song was beautiful!!! Thank you. And thanks for the reminder about the butterfly house!! Maybe I’ll go tomorrow.

  • Andrew Hidas  says:

    See, Bruce: That just shows the difference between the poet Ali was and those right-brain scientists with their fancy scientific terms! (And are bees really “hymenoptera?” My oh my…)

    Harriet, that sounds like a capital idea. (Visiting once a week sounds about right, actually..) Also: there’s a pack of I think eight red wolves, six of whom are leaving this very Sunday. Nice compound, close views of them bouncing around. I know there are many issues around keeping wild animals for our awe and amusement, but did see a sobering statistic in the exhibit: wild wolves average lifespan some five to seven years, in captivity, two to three times that. Wow…

    And glad you liked the song, I did, too. Had never heard of her before, but she is a very big deal in the UK.

  • Karen  says:

    Thank you the trip to the tropics in mid January. What a treat!

    The pictures are spectacular, and my favorite quote the one from Frost. Butterflies are indeed like flying flowers…great imagery!

    • Andrew Hidas  says:

      I really love that image too, Karen, and unlike a lot of other things that slip away from me these days, I think I will remember it whenever I do come across these babies in the future. The power of the perfect poetic image!

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