Nocturnal Sanctuary

DSC01077I’d invited my Startup Weekend team members over last night for a celebratory get-together (and dip in the pool – that never happened). Just before they arrived, the rains came. A veritable downpour. Monsoon-like in fact. The first one of this magnitude since mid-summer.

By the time they showed up, the rains had subsided enough that they merely had to skirt puddles and tiptoe on soaked earth on the way down. Though the terrace was spattered with rain, we sat, ate, drank and reminisced about our intensive weekend together.

DSC00970While we sat outside facing a darkened jungle and barely visible outline of rice fields above, we marveled at fireflies and sounds of cicadas. With the curtains wide open, the lights shining brightly in my room, soft music played. As if it were an invitation to others…

Only when the group left shortly before midnight, did I clean up, bringing glasses, plates and leftover snacks inside. By the time I locked all doors and curtains, I was certain that I was alone.DSC00991

How wrong I was.

Nature’s creatures, ostensibly attracted by the warmth and coziness of the lights, had taken up refuge all over the place. Geckos were frolicking about, diagonally chasing after other on walls and windows. A dragonfly looked stuck to the higher reaches of the far wall, seemingly frozen in time, but quite possibly fallen asleep. I spotted a few small spiders and a few unseen interlopers buzzed overhead. Ants crawled here and there, and a few larger unidentifiable insects, flitted about the floor. A lone butterfly, kupu-kupu, as if mimicking a bat, hung upside down from the ceiling.

After quickly assessing the relative merits and risks of sleeping amidst those surrounding creatures, I switched off the lights and dozed off.

When I opened my eyes this morning, I saw the butterfly still inverted above me. Turning my head, I noticed the dragonfly in place. Neither had moved an inch overnight.

Shortly after I drew the curtains open and unlocked the doors, the dragonfly got the drift and found its way out. The butterfly stayed put.019

With my water bottle in hand, and still in pajamas, I stood on the terrace surveying the morning’s sights and sou014nds. And then…

The butterfly landed. On my arm. Facing me. For many long minutes it didn’t budge. I went inside to get my camera and walked back out. The entire time, it stayed put. As if it had nowhere better to go. As if it was trying to communicate, convey a message.  What, I wondered, had it sought, then perhaps found, in my room, and on my body, that caused it to stay put?

031I’d never been this close – maybe two inches – to a butterfly’s head before.  It must have realized that I was staring right into its eyes. It felt as if it could have remained perched on my arm for hours. Surely we would have bonded…

Instead, I gently waved my arm, until it lifted off. Only to land on the curtain behind my head. And there – while I went about starting my day, picking away at my breakfast bowl of fruit037, practicing yoga poses, writing and texting – it stayed for a few hours.

By the time I looked up again a couple of hours later, the lovely creature had flown away.