Monday, December 17, 2012

The Monarchs

It's no secret that I love butterflies and fairies, so of course I've shared that love with the boys.

Last Spring we were at my mom's friend's house and she had a lovely Mexican Milkweed plant with monarch caterpillars munching away.  In the background along her wall and fence were gorgeous green chrysalises adorned with gold specks.  I fell in love, while Z peeked around and fell in love with her cats, Butterball and Loki.

My mom called a local garden center, The Great Outdoors, and waited until they had some Mexican Milkweed in their nursery.  We were stoked and headed down there with the boys.  They only had a handful left so I got one yellow and one orange.

We headed home to plant them after wondering around the gorgeous plants, discovering friends from the park while meandering, playing near and feeding koi in their awe inspiring pond, and admiring the wind chimes that are as big as a small car.

I put one in the boys' garden and one on the side of the house.

We lovingly tended to it all summer long, and awaited the return of the Monarchs as they migrate from up North through Texas on the way down to Mexico for the winter.  It's an amazing sight to behold during October as thousands upon thousands of monarchs flutter through town and stop to chow, pollinate our lands (thank you Monarchs!), and lay their eggs.

Since the Mexican milkweed is their host plant, and they loved all our other flowery plants, several came by and hung out in our garden.

This was the day after Z's fourth birthday, October 22

I was careful not to water the leaves as the eggs were delicately placed under them.  We kept vigil, eagerly anticipating the caterpillars and soon enough, the plant was crawling with them.

We watched them grow and grow, getting fatter and fatter, until one day most of them had disappeared from view and had built their chrysalises.  A few died, and we lovingly buried them in the garden.

Instead of looking the cycle up, I thought we'd just observe like the scientists and existentialists that we are.  Every day we headed out to see if anything had changed.  

Then two Sundays ago our first big freeze was expected.  

I figured that Nature knew what she was doing.  She always does.  We usually have really cold weather by now, so rest assured, I headed out to soak the gardens and my plants so that I could cover them later, as usual.  

I noticed a monarch struggling on the ground.  

My first thought was, "Aaaw.  He looks hurt or sick."

Then, "Why is there a monarch here in December?"

I got down closer and saw his wrinkled wings and immediately knew what just happened.

This precious being had just birthed out of the cocoon.

All I could do was pause in awe.  And remember what an amazing journey had just taken place right in our yard.  There are miracles everywhere, but this one seemed so special, since we had watched and waited for over half a year, patiently expecting it.  I love Jena Strong's words about the metamorphosis process.

After a few moments I called for Z to come witness our blessing.

He ran outside and I asked him to gently put his hand out, and let it crawl on if it wanted to.  He was so eager, but so patient, and he did as I asked him to, and lo and behold, it did.  He was just giddy with excitement.

I explained that our first huge cold front was already on it's way, and the butterfly is ready to fly south, but it has to grow first.  I pointed out it's still crumpled wings, and then decided to witness the miracle, instead of talk about it.  There's always time for that.  It fluttered to the ground where I asked him to help me place it back on the Milkweed and it could finish the expansion process from there.

Before we knew, it had fluttered off, to continue it's journey.

I stood in awe the whole rest of the day.

Every day, we are born and reborn, so many times, in so many ways, in constant flux.

We grow, transform, expand, and spread our wings and fly when it's time.

We are the cycles of nature.

When we pay attention to nature, we are paying attention to ourselves and what we need.

I am so grateful that we witnessed it all.  Every single step of the way.

Gorgeous wrinkled wings, expanding and growing every moment

Z loving the Monarch

"Look, Mama, he loves me!!!"


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