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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Butterflies and Feet

The English word butterfly is a beautifully melodic word. In French it’s papillon, and when you say it it sings off your tongue.

Butterfly. Papillon.

When we think of a butterfly images of sunny skies, foliage, and elaborately colored insects fluttering from plant to plant come to mind.


Monarchs, Painted Ladies, Crescentspots, Aphrodites, and Tiger Swallowtails dance their dance to the tune of Mother Nature. Aaah...

But did you know that butterflies smell with their feet? Oh yes they do. They have chemoreceptors at the ends of their antennas and on the bottoms of their feet.

What would it be like if we humans smelled with our feet?


Around my apartment I’d be privy to the scent of clean carpeting (I vacuum regularly), and in my kitchen I might smell crumbs from last night’s dinner or the spilled wine that I haphazardly wiped up. Would sniffing the wine give me a little buzz? Would I like it?

In my bathroom the smell of disinfectant would most certainly clog my foot sinuses. I’d need to purchase a lot of sinus medication, which usually makes me drowsy.

If I went swimming could my sense of smell possibly drown?

What would the pedals of my bike smell like?

Or the floor of the gym where many people, including myself, have dropped sweat?

In order to smell what I’ve got cooking would I have to dangle my feet above the food or could a simple jump in the air suffice?

What about the trails I hike? What does a dirt path really smell like? Would it be Nature’s aroma therapy or Nature’s cruel smelly joke?

I’m glad I’m not a butterfly.

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