Butterflies and Rain and Standing Outside the Dome

This morning school went so well that we had time for a swim.  While we were there, a toddler climbed out and said, “Dere he is,” pointing at a butterfly on the pavement.  My stomach lurched.  No no no no no, don’t drip on him.

I can remember when I learned two different bits of information when I was growing up.  One scared me, and one made me very sad.  Both were traumatizing.

The first thing was that when a butterfly’s wings get wet, they die.  This broke my heart, imagining the loss of so many precious lovelies losing their lives in a summer storm.  It is just tonight that I learn that might just be a myth.  But watching the little butterfly today, I know it’s not great for them.  With damp wings, she just flitted around, close to the hot pavement, and very much in danger of being trampled by unknowing feet.  It took me a long time when I was young to get through a rainstorm without thinking of the poor butterflies and getting a bit upset.

The next thing, the really scary thing, was the day I found out we live on the outside of planet Earth and not inside the dome.  I mean look around outside, that’s a logical assumption, right?  It looks like a dome above and around us, don’t you think?  On the day I found out we do NOT live inside a dome, the sky was the clearest blue with wisps of white clouds floating way up high.  The laundry on the line, soaking up the sunshine, smelled sweet in the way that only sun-dried laundry does.  The grass was summer green and freshly cut.  Birds were singing, butterflies were flocking to the butterfly bushes.  Idyllic.

And I was terrified.  I wanted to run in the house as fast as I could and stay there.  Forever.  You mean, we are just dangling on the outside of this…..ball?  At any minute I could float off into the nether regions of space?  Oh.  my.  stars.  Literally.  I was gripped with fear.  When my feet finally moved, I did go inside.  I felt very small and vulnerable and unprotected in a way I never had before.  And most likely haven’t since.  My whole world shifted that day.

Gravity’s a really, really good thing, I decided.  I tried not to worry over when it might give out.  Ahem.

All of that came rushing back to me today in the few seconds of watching the little girl’s delight with the butterfly.  Even though the information about the butterfly might not be completely accurate, and so far so good on the whole gravity thing keeping my feet on the ground, all of the emotions came rushing back too.  Fear, panic, sadness, pain, feeling lost and heartbroken…..

Isn’t it funny what can take us back in time?  What our brains decide to store and hang on to?  What they decide to forget?

And isn’t it interesting what our little people brains decide about the world and hang on to with a death grip, when we first start assimilating all the information in the world that’s out there to learn?  (I think I thought my parents were teasing or just flat-out ridiculous when they told me that about the earth.  I mean, how is that even possible, right?)

I look forward to tomorrow’s lessons.  I think I know what we will start off with.  A little research on butterflies (I need my facts straight–if I’ve worried for nothing all these years…..) and a lesson on gravity.  I don’t want them to grow up frightened or misinformed.  Life’s hard enough to comprehend without all that getting in the way.

Love to all.

Do You Think They’re Afraid?

Today on one of our many adventures, the littles and I got two butterfly bushes in addition to some other fun things to plant.  The butterfly bushes were, I suppose, an attempt to make my yard a little more hospitable.  To, you know, the critters.  (I heard a friend share that she has no bees in her yard, and I got sad, okay?  And it’s not for her lack of trying, so I got worried, since this spring, gardening wise, I’ve pretty much been a slacker.) In hindsight, perhaps it was my subconscious remembering the two I gave Daddy one year for his birthday. They are such happy, busy plants.  Critters always hovering and dancing around them.

A pretty butterfly bush

A pretty butterfly bush

Daddy had planted them next to his building.  (A workshop of sorts, I suppose really, but we always called it “Daddy’s building.”)  If his truck wasn’t parked right there facing the bushes, that was my parking spot in the yard–and still is.  The butterfly bushes grew fast and were fairly low maintenance, until one cold day I pulled up and they were all cut back.  But that’s what you do–cut them back so they will grow well the next spring.  And that’s another whole discussion for some other time.

So regardless of the reason, we brought these two home to plant in the back where we had a tree that died and had to be cut down.  My little friend was out there in my ground up stump pile last week trying to dig a big hole, and I thought what better to put in there than a butterfly bush.  (I’m afraid he’s not going to get my pool dug before he moves.)  I would love to have lots of butterflies out there celebrating, sharing with all their butterfly friends that THIS is the place to be.  Last summer we were lucky that my horticultural genius of a friend shared some of her cocoons with us.  We watched them hatch and then let them go when they were ready.  It was when I looked the little butterfly that was sitting on my finger in his precious little face that I wondered:

pic of caterpillar making cocoon 2When he made his cocoon, was he afraid?

Did he wonder what was about to happen?  Did he know where he was going?  Did he know just how beautiful and free and DIFFERENT his new life was going to be?  Had anyone told him?  Did he believe them?  Was he afraid?

I’ve thought about this a lot.

Because, well, if he was afraid, I just don’t think I could bear it.

But maybe I’m not just talking about butterflies anymore.

Tomorrow I will go out and plant my new butterfly bushes.  And wonder.  And remember.  Party on, my friends, you’ve had quite the journey.  Welcome home.

American Lady butterflies taken by greenart.com

American Lady butterflies taken by greenart.com