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“They came out with their wings packed down like furled parachutes, like crumpled letters. Even as they emerged it seemed incredible that their wide wings had once fit in so slender a space. As they emerged, their bodies were visible as they would never quite be again, and during those moments they looked like bugs, like insects, instead of what they would be when they were all brilliantly colored wing. Their bodies were still plump with the fluid they had to pump into those wings in the first minutes of their emergence to make them the straight sheets with which they flew. Some did not get quite free, and their wings never fully straightened.

“One flailed frantically, trying to drag itself out by crawling onto adjacent unopened chrysalises until they too began to thrash, a contagious panic. That one finally dropped free, though it may have been too late for its wings to straighten. The process of transformation consists mostly of decay and then of this crisis when emergence from what came before must be total and abrupt.”

– Rebecca Solnit, “The Blue of Distance,” A Field Guide to Getting Lost

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