If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~ William Morris

18 August, 2019

Hope ~ Mother Nature Prevails

However strong one's need for tidiness in the garden, nothing should outweigh the importance of supporting your local ecosystems.  Due to pesticide use and loss of its critical and only food source, the milkweed plant, the monarch butterfly has been experiencing shocking declines in the last decades.  Where once millions made their annual migration to Mexico, those numbers have reduced enough to cause scientists some alarm.  So every year, any milkweed plants that sprout in my yard or garden stay exactly where they are, and they are left to go to seed each fall. 

Every year since my boys were toddlers (they are now 13 and 16) we have sought out and hoped to find one monarch caterpillar which we bring in, supply with daily fresh milkweed leaves, and then watch the most magical and wonder-filled transformation from striped caterpillar to a chrysalis that rivals the crown jewels, and then the grand finale, a beautiful butterfly.  

The transformation really is amazing and we happily and joyfully release the butterfly the day he or she emerges and wings are dry. 

This year, we found not one, but four and one came inside quite by accident!  He was so tiny I didn't see him.  I also found one empty chrysalis which means one happy butterfly is already on his or her way to start the cycle anew. 

The increased numbers this year give me hope.  

I'll never forget the first time as a child I found one of these chrysalis creations.

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis
Chrysalis Photo Credit: Joyful Butterfly 

To say I was awestruck is an understatement.  I had never seen anything quite so beautiful.  As an adult it creates just as much of a sense of wonder in me today as it did then, and only cements my belief in the magic of God's creation.  After all, the gold specs are hardly necessary and not part of the butterfly's finished form.  It seems to me pure delight and whimsy on the part of our creator. 

We have four assorted size caterpillars this year and I couldn't be happier.  A fitting way to end a busy summer and welcome the oncoming autumn.

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