milkweed

A DAY FOR BUTTERFLIES!

Did you know there was a day set aside for butterflies? National Learn About Butterflies Day, is what they call it.

And so, I have to tell you about a butterfly we have visiting our yard every day. She is very special and a Monarch.

She hatched from an egg laid on my milkweed plants. Nothing unusual about that. But we have some busy lizards who seem to think baby caterpillars look like striped candy! One lizard plays a game of grabbing tiny caterpillars, jerking them off a stem or leaf, and tossing them away. So, I saved one Monarch caterpillar. We’ll call her Baby for this blog post.

I put Baby in a special jar I have for hatching butterflies. Within a week or so, on a Sunday morning, I realized I needed to release her. She had hatched, and her wings had stiffened into beautiful orange, black, and white colors. She was a perfect Monarch and lovely.

As we left for church, I let her cling to my finger, and I took her outside. She fluttered her wings in the sunlight. I knew she wasn’t ready to take a long flight, so I placed her within the branches of a small palm. She was still there when we came home, so I moved her to a different location on the palm. A short time later, she took off, using her wings for the first flight. She circled higher and higher, toward the top of an oak, and I went inside. She had left.

The following Sunday, we came home from church, and a butterfly came fluttering over our heads, circling and dipping in the gentle breeze. She landed on a milkweed plant.

I told my husband, “I bet that’s my butterfly.” We watched her for a moment, but I soon said, “I bet I can touch her.”

I slowly reached toward her and softly touched the sides of her body. She didn’t care!

She has hung around, since then, showing up and exploring the milkweed plants. She still likes to head for the palm tree and comes very close to me. My husband couldn’t stand being left out, so he tried touching her … and she sat still long enough for his fingers to almost touch her dark body, and then, she drifted up over his head.

I do believe it’s Baby! I’ve never had a butterfly act that way.

We have some cold weather coming, and there are caterpillars all over the milkweed plants. I never saw so many! But lizards are everywhere. They are probably playing “Toss the Caterpillar” when I’m not looking! So yesterday, I collected some of the caterpillars and put them in the special jar, with a huge bundle of leaves. They have grown over night! Five have already shed their striped coats and are waiting for the moment they can hatch and fly.

I’ll release them when they hatch. It is so much fun to watch the whole process. I’ve been doing it ever since I was a little girl in Michigan. Dad took pictures of butterflies hanging on my ears. I think every child should see the wonderful process from egg, to caterpillar, and then butterfly. And I’m glad there is a National Learn About Butterflies Day!

STAGES OF GROWTH

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God created unique stages of life for all living creatures, plant life, and humans. This is apparent with butterflies.

For instance, the Monarch butterfly starts life as a light-colored egg, the size of a pinhead.

You can turn over a slender milkweed leaf and spot the random eggs adhered to the leaf. But it doesn’t take long before a tiny, striped caterpillar emerges. It is very small, but it grows rapidly as it munches on milkweed  leaves–chewing at a very fast pace.

Take the time to bend close to a caterpillar and watch it gobble up a leaf. Even that stage of their life is amazing.

But most delightful is when a butterfly’s wings are ready to take on unique drafts of air and strong winds. Butterflies don’t usually jump from branch to branch with gentle flutters, or with repeated attempts at flying, as a baby bird might leave the nest. Instead, a butterfly just takes off flying, sometimes soaring upwards in loops and circles toward the tops of trees. It’s like a flight of joy.

Of course, that fast flight may keep them from immediately being captured.

Compared to God, we humans are tiny. After birth, we don’t jump into the role of an adult human–physically, mentally, or spiritually.

There are stages of growth in our life, and not everyone proceeds at the same pace. And that is so true about our spiritual growth! Some people have the advantage of being schooled from birth, taught about God, taken to church, and encouraged to attend a Christian college, etc.

But not everyone comes from a family who encourages spiritual growth.

God understands each person’s unique situation. He calls people to come to Him and experience life to the fullest. And spiritual growth may come in small steps, as we learn and believe.

We aren’t going to swirl to the top of a church steeple and have all we will ever need of God’s love and forgiveness. We must learn to walk through the stages of growth in our spiritual life, while depending on God and older Christians to guide us with each new situation.

God is good. He stays with us.

Please, leave your comments below! Have you experienced stages of growth in your life? Please, mention a couple incidents.  Remember, your comment may help another person!

~Karen Campbell Prough

 

Copyright © Karen Campbell Prough 2016
Represented by Linda S. Glaz at http://www.hartlineliterary.com.