We want what we can’t have.
When you’re on safari you’re surrounded by greenery that’s lush and fragrant and without really trying you’ll spot creatures everywhere, including big cats. Yet the more competitive safari goer isn’t satisfied with all that. Not until he spots a leopard, among the most elusive of bush creatures.
And the only thing that makes our safari goer more nuts than not seeing a leopard is learning that someone else saw one, perhaps minutes before.
Silly to think that despite having this wondrous day on safari, someone would be so goal-oriented that he’d let not seeing a leopard sour the experience.
Why am I telling you this?
Because in April, while I was walking around the Butterflies on the Go garden at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, I was a lot like our guy on safari. Despite being surrounded by lush greenery, butterflies everywhere, I wasn’t going to be satisfied until a butterfly actually landed on my hand. Especially when butterflies left and right were landing on everyone else’s hands.
Ridiculous right? But when you’re goal-oriented instead of – literally, in this case, a guy who takes the time to smell the flowers – you’re bound to be disappointed.
However, as I pursued my goal of trying to get a butterfly a land on me, I did actually try to smell the flowers, especially since earlier that morning at a Traveling Mom writing seminar I had made a big deal about how describing what things smell like will make your writing more evocative.
In the garden a stone path winds around a central fenced garden area, and more flowers ring the right side of the path, so I certainly had my pick of things to smell.
First I tried to get a whiff of a plant identified as “Strawberry.” It had no discernible smell.
Next I tried the African Daisy. Also no smell.
Snapdragons. When they also had no smell, it dawned on me that my nose was stuffed and I couldn’t smell anything.
My sense of smell would return later when I stopped by Epcot’s Urban Farm Eats food concession (which, like the Festival itself, only operates from March through mid-May). But for now I had no sense of smell and I still couldn’t get a butterfly to land on me.
And to add insult to injury, just ahead, a pretty orange butterfly decided to land on a girl’s forehead. That’s the equivalent of a leopard scampering down from his tree and volunteering to be in one of your selfies.
Frustrated, I left the big white tent that envelops the butterfly garden and subjected a Disney cast member to a couple questions. First, how come the tent’s entrance and exit were only covered with strings of black beads? Couldn’t the butterflies get out if they felt like it?
Well yes, the cast member explained. The beads don’t prevent the butterflies from leaving the tent so much as discourage them a little bit. And even if they do get out and choose not to come back, it’s no big deal since all the butterflies are native to the area.
Next, I asked if there was a trick to getting a butterfly to land on me (I really did. These Disney cast members are saints.) I explained that at the Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey, you could hold a bird-seed coated tongue depressor and a butterfly would eventually land on it. And while she seemed to sense my frustration, she had no tips for me.
So I returned to the tent, where soon enough I came across a woman who had a butterfly perched on her hand. Long enough so that her family got a lot of pictures. And that’s when I just went up to her and asked: Could she perhaps transfer the butterfly over to me? Sure, she said, probably thinking, this perspiring middle-aged man with two-days growth looks a little unhinged, but my sense is he wouldn’t harm a butterfly.
And then it happened. It took a good thirty seconds of my awkwardly pressing my clammy hand alongside hers, but through her dexterousness and perhaps force of will on her part and mine, the butterfly came to me.
For a more mature and far more informative look at Butterflies on the Go, check out what Traveling Mom Teresa Shaw has to say about it.
And Traveling Mom has much more on the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, including:
- Festival overview
- About the topiaries
- Top kid-friendly attractions… and even more kid-friendly picks.
- Making the festival magical for kids
- Outdoor kitchens
- Vegetarian eats
- Tips for picky eaters
- What a gardener can learn from the flower show
- What the festival teaches us about sustainability