On several occasions as I walked around temples or while on treks through the city or countryside I would be joined by a single excited companion. It would fly its erratic path popping up, down, and sideways as it kept pace with me.
Sometimes it would possess the burnt orange of a monarch while other times it would be a vibrant blue or dark smoldering grey.
Sometimes it would be adorned in uneven stripes; other times meticulous single colored perfectly round dots. On occasion the smooth powdery velvet of its monochrome would be unusually beautiful, enough to render further brush strokes from nature unnecessary.
The butterflies of Cambodia are gorgeous, numerous, and highly regarded.
This was apparent by the many cafes, gardens, sanctuaries, and exhibits dedicated to these delicate and beautiful creatures.
On each occasion as I walked somewhere new I would, upon first noticing my joyful compadre, send a greeting its way and smile as it performed its mid-air dance around my head.
I followed as it led me in the direction I was going.
My mother had always been able to find the beauty in all things. She would pronounce them “Simply Beautiful” as a description of beautiful all by itself was never quite enough to fully acknowledge their gift to the world.
She had a soft spot for the more fragile and delicate. Flowers and butterflies held a special place in her heart.
Over the years mum had taken countless photos of flowers blooming in her garden. She had completed numerous needlepoint works and giant gig-saw puzzles displaying butterflies from around the world. Every time illuminating them to their full glory.
Mum passed on in 2012 and life has not been quite the same since then. She had been my rock and for a long time afterwards I felt a bit rudderless.
She was the person that had always encouraged me and my siblings to venture out. To challenge the world to provide us experiences we could always cherish. She had succeeded in this and much much more.
This is my first big journey since that time.
As I meandered through the country there were multiple instances where I would matter-of-factly greet my frolicking companion with a sub-conscious “Hi Ma”.
I found it comforting to know she was with me, keeping me safe, and enjoying the experience that is Cambodia.
For photos of Cambodia click here