While mowing my lawn yesterday I saw several butterflies, all different sizes and colors. There were tiny ones that looked like mini-monarchs and larger ones like the Yellow Swallowtail. I had to bring my mower to a complete stop more than once to keep from running over the lovely little creatures. They didn’t seem the least bit disturbed by the roar of the engine or the grass spitting out the shoot.
Butterflies are more than just beautiful insects to me, they’re a symbol of renewal and hope. The summer after my father’s passing there was a bumper crop of Monarch butterflies. Every time I saw a Monarch I felt like it was my father watching over me. There were a couple that lingered into the cooler weather and one even climbed onto my hand when I found it huddled clutching to the grass unable to fly in the strong, cold wind.
Seeing butterflies as symbols can be somewhat traumatic though when I’m driving in my car and they fly in front of me. I can’t really swerve for butterflies safely. Last spring there was a huge migration of small brown and orange butterflies called Red Admirals. I was driving home from work one day and the air was filled with them. I couldn’t swerve to avoid them all and there were already several that had been hit and were blowing across the road and I started crying as I drove. They were just out flying, trying to find a mate and they were dying in large numbers. That was not a good afternoon for me.
I emailed one of my close friends about how awful that drive home was and he understood because he knew all about my love for butterflies and what they mean to me. That summer he took me to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in South Deerfield, Massachusetts and it was an amazing experience! Being surrounded by so many different butterflies that were in no danger of being struck by cars or other moving objects was very healing for me.
That experience was also a little bittersweet. I looked at all the butterflies around and I was trying to take pictures with my outdated Droid phone and I knew I wasn’t capturing their beauty. I knew my father would’ve been able to capture the wonder of it all on film and I began to keenly miss him. I am embarrassed to say that I sat on a bench and started crying. I had sunglasses on but apparently they don’t hide tears as well as I thought. My friend came over and comforted me as best he could and then an employee came over to ask what was wrong. She was carrying a large lizard and suggested that I pet him, so I did. The lizard then jumped down from her arms rather gracelessly and that made me laugh. I am not meant to be sad for long, my father doesn’t want that for me.
As my friend and I sat on that bench a brown and white butterfly landed on first his head for several minutes and then briefly landed on my hand as I held my phone. That was the only butterfly to land on me that day but it was enough. It was reassurance to me from my father and the powers that be that I was okay and that I was on the right path in my life.
I highly recommend a visit to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. It’s very educational for children and enjoyable for adults as well. There’s more to see than butterflies and you always have to be on the lookout for the button quail that dart about. Spend an hour there and escape the hectic pace of life to find a bit of peace among silently fluttering wings.
Should you ever see me walking along or mowing and I suddenly stop to look over at something, you can bet I’ve spotted a butterfly. I’m taking a moment to admire and appreciate the beautiful flying artwork created by the amazing imagination of Mother Nature.