We found the eggs of a Monarch butterfly on the underside of a milkweed leaf. Dad got a big jar and put the milkweed leaf there, along with other milkweed leaves. And we watched it every day.
Soon, there was a little caterpillar that quickly grew into a big, tigerish caterpillar. We kept bringing fresh milkweed leaves, and the caterpillar ate and ate and ate. We put our faces right up to the jar to see.
One day, the caterpillar switched gears entirely and got about the business of creating its astonishing chrysalis, that ethereal pale green with the touch of gold, like an angel’s wing. And every day, we just watched and waited.
Finally, more magic happened. The new Monarch emerged with its limp wings. We stared, as the butterfly pumped and tested the wings. Then, we knew it was time.
We took the jar outside and opened it up near the milkweed patch and the trees. The Monarch flew up into the skies. We stood gazing, amazed and happy.
Little did we know then how tenuous life was already becoming for the Monarchs. We would watch every year for their migration, and slowly realize that something was happening. Their numbers were dwindling.
The glimpse we had of the precious and beautiful life of our Monarch butterfly made us open our eyes to the wide world and all of the ways we are connected — mysteriously and wonderfully. So now we watch for the butterflies and the birds and the fish and the bears and the bees and the milkweed and the trees and so much more, and we tread ever more softly in the home we share.
Many thanks to Eugie’s Causerie for the prompt, “observation,” that inspired these words.