Life as a Butterfly

>> Friday, July 24, 2009

Several weeks ago I purchased a rather pitiful looking passionflower vine with the hopes of attracting butterflies. And to paraphrase the movie line, "if you plant it they will come". This week I have had the pleasure of watching the life cycle of the Fritillary.

I first noticed the larvae, but then found eggs, too. It amazes me that something that starts out so insignificantly small, turns into a fiercely determined caterpillar. These guys have one mission and that is to eat quickly and continuously.

Eric Carle nailed it in his book The Hungry Caterpillar.

After all that feasting, it is time for a nap.

And then, Voila!

All of this activity has been going on in the garden in just one week. This process has to be fast because the average lifespan of a butterfly is one month. Yes, one month. They experience birth, mating, and death all in a matter of days.

And this got me thinking. What would my life look like with a lifespan of only a month? Now this isn't the same question as "what if you only had a month to live?" That question presumes that the timetable starts from where you are at the moment the question is asked. But, a total lifespan of a month really throws things into high gear.

Humans are unique in the animal world for a lot of reasons. One is that we have the luxury of time. Time to learn, to experiment, to make mistakes, to reinvent ourselves. The luxury of time takes away urgency and, possibly, our inclination to value each moment.

So, one month, one year, or fifty one, whatever I am blessed with will be filled with "noticed" moments. No more overlooking because I think tomorrow will be filled with more of the same. Tomorrow is never the same.


Rosey Pollen August 4, 2009 at 6:55 AM  

Yes, we need to take time to notice more! Everyday is a blessing.!

Helen August 4, 2009 at 8:39 PM  

I just did a quick calculation and see I have about a week and a half left. I'll try to make that half full, not half empty.

Autumn Belle August 5, 2009 at 7:02 AM  

To those who believe in rebirth, now you may be a butterfly, but in the next life will become a human being or a bird. That's the cycle of life. Did you get to see the butterfly emerge from the pupa? It must be a good experience.

Randy Emmitt August 6, 2009 at 5:01 AM  

Glad you got to experience this magical transformation. Several years ago I found 3 chrysalis or the Gulf Fritillary and brought them home with me. The day they emerged it was dreary and rainy. I took photos of them inside with the back door open for a natural background.

Flowers August 6, 2009 at 8:51 PM  

Your blog looks wonderful. Enjoyed it as a butterfly. Keep it up, You seems to be very creative.

Meredith August 12, 2009 at 12:31 PM  

You've given us a lot to think about. It's so important to stop and notice what's around us and to find the time to reflect on our lives.

Muhammad khabbab August 28, 2009 at 2:44 AM  

you are lucky that you saw the whole transformation. i am still unable to spot a caterpillar on my passiflora vine. amazing photos.


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