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I wanted to give a short-fun-filled life to those that stayed

I’ve subsequently decided I’m bat-shit crazy.

It’s not as if I didn’t know what I was getting into. I‘ve been there before.


That’s how I classify my life nowadays. There’s life before the pandemic — aka 2019 — and life after the pandemic, which is where we are now, methinks. Maybe the pandemic and all its offspring still linger, but I don’t need to wear a mask all the time and everywhere.

Back to pre-pandemic

I rescued an ailing butterfly, nearly stepped on it, and nursed the poor thing for three days. I was hooked! I hunted down eggs, retrieved tiny caterpillars, and bought out Lowe’s stock of milkweed. It’s the host plant for monarchs. I placed these in the sunroom.

Monarch caterpillars are escape artists

My first batch of caterpillars crawled all over the house. We found chrysalis everywhere. Hanging from curtain rods, and vacuum cleaners, even on my reformer. Believe it or not, two weeks later, I chased down a couple of butterflies crashing against a window, trying to get out.

That is when I bought three huge cages and started my farm. With zero knowledge.

I swore never again

Yet here we were. Going into fall 2022, and still, the weather was gorgeous. Like spring. I noticed several Monarch butterflies flitting around, visiting the flowers, lingering, which meant,

They were laying eggs

Well, I was not going to do anything about that. No, Sirree, I didn’t have time or the inclination or a clean, usable cage.

But when I inspected some flowers for bugs, what should my eyes behold but a fat caterpillar, ready for chrysalis. Yes, with the changing weather, there were fewer geckos, wasps, and other creepy crawlies to demolish the eggs and emerging caterpillars.

What was I to do

I should not have called a friend and asked if she still had a cage. But I did, and she did. And it was off to the races. Again. I have a short memory.

I drew the line at collecting eggs. But lovely healthy caterpillars? You bet.

Last week four healthy, beautiful butterflies left home and flew off to enjoy their short lifespan. I prayed the other chrysalises would hurry and get to it as the weather changed.

Then came the incident

I’d kept her overnight to ensure her wings were firm and dry and she was safe to fly. She? Yup, I know the difference between a girl butterfly and a boy butterfly.

I took her out of the cage, carried her carefully with wings folded flat, and went to our front garden. Holding her high, I opened my hand. She crawled to the tips of my fingers, clung, and exercised her wings, showing off her perfect body and beauty.

All done posturing, she launched herself in the air, up and up, then came down and flitted around the old palm tree; up she went again, turned south, and headed for the fast-flowing canal.

“No,” I yelled. The canal is broad, and even though she was strong, I didn’t think she’d make it across to the safety of the other bank and the trees.

She didn’t

Maybe she landed on a leaf or a piece of debris, rested a bit, and took off again. Maybe she landed in the water and drowned. I’ll never know.

I didn’t understand. She could’ve continued the direction she took off, west. She could’ve turned around and flown east into the early sunshine. She could’ve gone across the road to my neighbor’s garden and explored.

Maybe I would’ve pushed the incident aside after the required amount of grumbling, but dang if another Madame Butterfly did not commit the same Kamikaze act the following morning! She wholly extirpated herself.

Yup, I’m a word addict. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to use extirpated. I get a new one every day from Merriam-Webster. It means to destroy completely.

But back to my butterfly. Another girl. Nope, I’m not profiling there. My boy flew into a bush and had to be rescued. He’s back in the cage, exercising his wings.

I watch another couple of chrysalis darken, butterflies getting ready to eclose. And I can’t help but wonder how God feels as He sees us, His children, crash, burn, and self-destruct. He gave us life. He gave us all we needed to lead a Christian life. You can’t go wrong with the basics.

The Ten Commandments! And The Our Father as an encore.

And what do we do?

We head for that fast-flowing canal life, loaded with pleasure and distractions. Autumn leaves of flitting fun, debris that might entertain us for a while. The odd tree limb that looks sturdy but will up-end us in the first big storm life might bring. That banged-up chair could carry our weight but will be shoddy company at best. Plastic bottles and fast-food containers.

A short fun-filled life might be fine for a Monarch butterfly, but is that what we want?