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A few years ago on Valentine’s Day, my romantic husband decided to surprise me by taking me to the Wings of Paradise Butterfly Conservatory in Cambridge. It was only a short trip from our home, and we had never gone there before, so I welcomed what I thought was going to be a very romantic outing with my sweetheart. Little did I know that not only would my Valentine’s Day be unromantic, it was downright terrifying.

When I tell people now that I am afraid of butterflies, they first smirk in disbelief, and when I don’t smile back at them, they look very puzzled indeed. Yes, my little secret is out of the bag. I am not sure when this strange phobia began, although I blame my Dad at least in part. He fabricated these elaborate stories of giant moths “flap, flap, flap” whenever my Mom or I was too afraid to swat a moth that had come into our home in search of a light to flutter around. These stories scared the heck out of me as a youngster, and reminiscing about them even now gives me the willies!

So, there I was at Wings of Paradise, camera in tow, hand-in-hand with my Valentine, and ready to take some beautiful snapshots as a reminder of our special day together. From a distance, I must admit that the butterflys were quite beautiful, but when they got close enough for me to actually see their giant wings, I hid behind Stuart in fear. I am told that one of these enormous creatures actually landed on my back. Had I known this at the time (or worse, seen it for myself) I’m sure I would have run from the place, screaming in hysterics! As it was, our afternoon was spend with me ducking at each passing insect, and getting strange looks from the other guests at the Conservatory who watched the winged creatures in awe.

Alas, I know many of you are laughing at my strange neurosis. Apparently, Nicole Kidman, popular movie star and internationally known talent, also suffers from the same strange affliction. I’m sure Ms. Kidman would agree, “give us snakes or heights any day…”

So, there you have it. I won’t be venturing back into that scary situation any time soon. By the way, I’d also like to mention that my Brother-in-Law is afraid of squirrels…but that’s another story!