November 9th, 2016 / Share
'Natural History" for Marie Claire
On a trip to South America my wife and I found ourselves on a guided nature hike near the Iguazu falls, in Brazil. As we were walking through the rain forest the guide mentioned that we could borrow bicycles and pedal deeper into the forest. He said a jeep could pick up the stragglers. After about a half hour people started to drop off, succumbing to the heat, humidity and ancient tank-like bicycles. Pretty soon it was just me and a much younger, competitive Italian fellow. I’m a tolerable cyclist but he was in no mood to draft an old photographer and he took off, leaving me alone, muttering. It was hot and uncomfortable, but once I make up my mind to pedal somewhere I’m going to get there, short of calamity. Then a most amazing thing happened. Butterflies started to appear. First one, then three, then dozens were swirling about me. Huge morphos, little yellow ones, spotted ones, a cloud of color enveloped me as I pedaled alone in the forest. They were probably attracted to my drenched body, but I like to think they were guiding me to the river. They flitted off as quickly as they came, leaving me breathless, perhaps less from the miles traveled, than from the moment shared. To see more from this series, click here.