metamorphosis

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.

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Many thanks to Eugie’s Causerie for the prompt, “observation,” that inspired these words.

groove

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The rain clears, and I am out the door.

veru9_2_18bMy feet carry me along the city streets. It’s a sleepy place this morning, but it’s still too much city for me.

“The world is too much with us,” I hear Wordsworth in my head.

And it really is.

I am unsettled, impatient, searching for that groove in my soul. But today, my locomotion fails to answer.

I go from block to block, watching where my feet are taking me. I notice a few pine cones, fallen leaves. I glance up onto manicured lawns, landscaped houses. It makes me tired.

I remember a house that gave their front yard over to a vegetable garden. I head that way, but find it, unsurprisingly, in an end-of-season riot of weeds and tired plants.

I scan the treetops along the streets. With the sun full out, I see the beginnings of autumn in them. A few leaves going yellow here, rusty-red there.

I keep going, searching, searching for that meditative stride – the fix. The world pushes in at me, though. I see cement, asphalt, bricks, blocks, and a whole lot of plastic. Plastic benches, plastic fencing, planters… flamingos and frogs. I am careful at the corners as cars lurch past.

An hour later, I am still searching but arrive back at my place anyway, heralded by the big silver maple.

And then I see them.

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The monarch butterflies are staying over at the silver maple today. I see one first. As I approach, it flutters up along with several others. I realize I am seeing monarch butterflies all over the tree.

They rest among the leaves for awhile, and then they flit upward, almost sparkling in the sunshine, before settling down on another branch.

If I look long enough at any area of the tree, I see them. Sometimes they are perched in a little group together along a branch.

And then the next thing you know, surprise, up they go and everyone trades places to settle down somewhere else on the same tree.

I stand outside wandering beneath the tree, looking up into its branches, like a child.

My impatience with the world evaporates up through the leaves, and I stretch my wings with the butterflies.