The rainforest can be a lonely place.
In the wake of a lonely spell yesterday I hiked down to the river near the base where I live and work to dip my feet in the water, read a book and soak up some of the glorious sunshine that dry season brings to even the darkest corners of the rainforest.
As I neared the end of Life of Pi, I looked down at my legs, partially submerged in the water, to see a butterfly quietly resting midway up my pierna. I watched in wonder, gently twisting my torso to grab my camera, worrying the butterfly would flit away.
I turned back to my legs and another butterfly landed. Over the next few minutes, a dozen of these miniature creatures came to quietly rest on my legs.
It was a beautiful moment, and these butterfly kisses gently reminded me no one is alone in the woods, in the rainforest, in life.
The butterflies that landed on me are the Hecale Longwing, a species of butterfly that are found in Mexico all the way to the Peruvian Amazon. These black and gold butterflies, or mariposas, are quite common in Costa Rica.
There are more than 1,200 species of butterflies found in Costa Rica and 8,000 species of moths. Butterflies help produce and preserve the ecology of the rainforest by pollinating many of the flower species that also call the rainforest home.