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The Beauty of Butterflies

After a series of difficult days, I find myself still in the midst of sadness.  I almost didn’t want to write this, but I am starting on a path of admitting my vulnerabilities, so perhaps this is where I start.

Yesterday I found out that a coworker with whom I’ve grown close resigned his position.  He called me last night to tell me.  He is heading back from New Mexico to donate all of his possessions, wrap up loose ends, and say goodbye to his good friends.  He asked if he could see me before he moved permanently to New Mexico.  He described all of the wonderful kismet, cosmic coincidences he’s been experiencing.  I told him that is what happens when you realize you are on your true path, but the truth is that I am so sad that he is leaving.  

Later that day, I took the boys to the arboretum.  First we visited the Butterfly House.  A wonderful little garden that is screened in so that people can walk through and see the stages of the butterfly.  The older woman showed us two tiny baby caterpillars that we were told would grow fat and turn into Monarchs within the next few months.  She gave us a magnifying glass so we could see its markings.  Other types of butterflies fluttered around our heads and one landed on my son’s shirt.  He laughed as he stared down at the Yellow Swallowtail.   

We left the Butterfly House and wandered through the woods. A large section of the grassy way was covered with large and cumbersome rocks.  Among these rocks, I saw a glint of orange and black.  I thought for a moment that the Monarch butterfly had merely lighted on the side of the rock, and I was amazed at how it just sat there while we got even closer.  It took only a few moments to realize that this butterfly was not brave.  It was dead.  I knelt down next to it, and realized this was the closest I could ever get to a Monarch, but the irony was not lost on me that it was also because it was lifeless.  I showed my boys and we took turns holding it.  I never noticed how black the body of a Monarch is with its white splotches and paper thin wings.  How could something so delicate be so strong?  My youngest son’s finger wiped at the wing and a slight powder slid into the air.  

It was here that I also remembered the movie we had watched together at the Franklin Institute about the flight of the Monarch Butterfly.  It is a story that revolved around one man’s forty year search for an answer to how the Monarch Butterfly makes the longest known migration from Mexico to Canada.  The story ends in 1976 when the aging scientist visits the final destination of the Monarchs in Canada.  One of his tagged butterflies was found here, and he is able to put all of the pieces together and find the answer to all of his questions.  His life-long quest was complete. 

We laid the Monarch back on the rock.  My final thoughts before we continued on our journey were of knowing that each path has a process.  It makes progress in its own time. Sometimes the path is clear and the signs let us know that we are going the right way and sometimes the journey is arduous and long with few signs that we are on the right path, but the road still needs to be taken because there are great mysteries to uncover.    

Butterfly Life Cycle

4 thoughts on “The Beauty of Butterflies

  1. It is always hard losing friends to other jobs and places and I am a big believer that people come and go for reasons, goodbyes are not forever and we are all connected in this big world. I love butterflies and I loved this piece. Following you like a butterfly flitting softly to land amongst your words;) peace and light, Kim

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