Bountiful Butterflies

pearl crescent butterflies

Fortunately for me, it’s been a very good summer for butterflies around my house. I started seeing monarchs in early July and there have been tons of little white and yellow butterflies flying around since late spring. One type of butterfly in particular has been especially abundant this year and while I call them mini monarchs, they’re actually called Pearl Crescent butterflies.

I think the butterflies like my property so much because I don’t mow as fanatically as my neighbors and therefore have a decent crop of “weeds” such as dandelions, clover, plantains and goldenrod. Thanks to consuming local honey in my tea every morning for the past year, I no longer have allergy issues so none of these plants bother me by their appearance or their pollen. The butterflies and bees find their pollen quite appealing and I’m happy to provide what they need to thrive.

For reasons I don’t entirely understand, the little Pearl Crescent butterflies love my driveway, especially the area around my car. Every time I go out to my car on a warm day, the little orange and black butterflies fly up in a cloud and “swarm” about in confusion as I navigate carefully to avoid stepping on them. There are also a large number of the butterflies in my yard whenever I take Jazzmin out and I can’t keep from smiling when they flutter about me as if saying “Hello!”

pearl crescent butterflies


pearl crescent butterflies

pearl crescent butterfliesButterflies have always been a positive sign for me as they remind me that those who have passed on, including my father, are always with me and are bringing great things into my life on their beautiful, delicate wings. I’m still struggling with the parting of ways I’ve experienced with my formerly close friend and seeing butterflies every day helps compensate for no longer talking to that person every day as I used to.

Sometimes it feels like the butterflies go out of their way to circle around me and make their presence known, monarchs especially, and I appreciate nature’s creatures supporting me through all the challenges I’ve faced in my life.

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Delight in butterflies

I saw several butterflies while mowing today including a monarch and a yellow swallowtail. Seeing butterflies always makes me smile, even when I’m riding around a bumpy yard on a tractor in the hot sun. Butterflies are such powerful creatures to me because they go through quite a transformation to gain their wings.

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Promises on monarch wings

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Took this picture with my phone and zoomed in. Trust me, there's a monarch in it.

The weather finally cooled off and became less humid enough to mow today. As I mowed this afternoon I was treated to the sight of monarch butterflies. I’m always so happy when the monarchs start appearing! They’re symbolic of transformation for me and carry messages from my father and other family spirits.

I love all types of butterflies and smile whenever one flies by me. I even bring my mower to a complete stop if there’s one perched on a flower in front of me. The roar of the mower is enough to make them fly away and I continue on my course. Seeing two butterflies flying together is a powerfully positive sign and never to be ignored.

When I was done mowing, I took Jazzmin for a walk in the lovely evening air. Shortly after we set out, a monarch butterfly appeared flying in the direction we were walking. He paused on a plant by the side of the road and I snapped the picture at the top of this post before an oncoming car scared him away.

Jazz and I had a great walk in the sunshine with the pleasant breeze and she was all happy, panting smiles on our way home. As we neared my driveway, another monarch fluttered by us and I paused to watch him as he disappeared further up the road. Wearing a wide,  happy smile, I continued toward home and started looking forward to the many wonderful promises awaiting me on monarch wings.

Guides along the path

Red-tailed hawk. Image courtesy of National Geographic

If you’ve been loyally reading every blog post I’ve written here then you know that I’m a huge believer in signs. I don’t just mean road signs, though those have come in very handy when I’ve become lost in New England. The signs that I pay the most attention to are of a more divine nature.

Coexisting with my belief in signs is my belief in spirit guardians. Quite often in fact, the signs I see come from the animals around me. Butterflies are a sign of hope and remind me that my father and other loved ones who have passed are always near. When I see a fox, I consider it good luck. Hearing an owl in the woods at night is reassurance from the spirits that they’re with me even in darkness. Seeing a hawk means that I am on the right path and to continue on in the direction I’ve chosen.

I lost track of how many hawks I saw perched in trees, atop poles and flying through the sky on my last drive to New England. I felt that they were not only guiding me but also showing the approval of higher powers as I pursue my dreams. There are always signs and guides along the path, if you’re willing to open your mind, heart and eyes to see them.

Sunday in the Grass

While most of my neighbors were out busily mowing their grass today, I was out laying in it with my daughters. It was a nice sunny afternoon and with the cooler temperature there’s less bugs. Jordan helped me spread out the big, old comforter I always have in the back of my car and we all stretched out on it in the sun. As Mama Nature loves to mess with me the sun soon disappeared behind a large mass of clouds. It was still a nice day though so we stayed outside.

There was sun when we came out...

There was sun when we came out…

Jordan eventually wandered off in search of sticks and grass to weave into some sort of project. Jaycie rolled up half of the blanket like a little pea pod and I laid on my back looking up at the sky of clouds. The clouds were a dense blanket and there weren’t any discernible bunny, dog or flower shapes to pick out but it was still lovely. The roar of the neighbors’ mowers eventually subsided and the only sounds were the birds and bugs. Jazz was tied out nearby and she flopped down in the grass to enjoy the fresh air.

Jaycie the peapod

Jaycie the pea pod

Peaking out Jaycie

Peaking out Jaycie

There were lots of small butterflies fluttering around enjoying the sunshine and sipping on clover nectar. Honey bees and bumblebees were buzzing around the goldenrod gathering pollen on their back legs until they could barely move. They’re rather lucky they’re not allergic to goldenrod because my girls and I certainly are. Some days my eyes, throat and ears itch so bad I want to scream but instead I just sneeze, blow my nose and vow to remember my allergy pill at night. Even so, I’ll take this nice fall weather over the unspeakable season that comes after it.

Jordan trying to uncover Jaycie

Jordan trying to uncover Jaycie

Jordan trying to roll her sister up like a burritto

Jordan trying to roll her sister up like a burritto

I could have mowed today or trimmed my front bushes but I just wasn’t in the mood. Sunday doesn’t feel like a day that should be spent sweating and swearing doing yard work. I’ll tackle those chores later this week, they’ll still be waiting. Sundays are for sleeping in, making the girls pancakes from scratch for breakfast, hanging out in pajamas for too long, mixing up delicious apple cinnamon muffins for snacks and laying in the grass enjoying the autumn breeze. I did all that and I don’t feel like I’ve wasted the day. The slower moments count just as much as the busy ones.

Butterfly Sightings

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.

One of the small butterflies in the grass

One of the small butterflies in the grass

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.

The Monarch that climbed onto my hand

The Monarch that climbed onto my hand

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.

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, South Deerfield, MA

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, South Deerfield, MA

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.

The lizard that leaped

The lizard that leaped

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.

Butterfly that landed on us

Butterfly that landed on us

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.

Several butterflies flying over the warmth of heat lamps

Several butterflies flying over the warmth of heat lamps

Tree frog showing me his best side

Tree frog showing me his best side

Glasswing Butterfly - one of my favorites!

Glasswing Butterfly – one of my favorites!

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.