Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Monarch Butterfly

Two days ago, en route to meet up with friends at the beach, Lu and I came across a poor, crumpled Monarch Butterfly. She was still alive and had one wing that was only slightly damaged... the other wing was a wretched mess.... but we picked her up anyway. Lu begged me to keep her, to try to save her. I knew we probably only had a few hours with the poor insect.. yet I agreed anyway - so hard to say no to those imploring, vivid blue eyes.

Luckily for the Monarch - whom Lu had named Mona - we had a lot of fruit in the car for our beach picnic. Lu made a little nest in my upturned straw hat for Mona...while I passed back grapes and some pieces of apple. Lu was awe-struck to watch, up close, the Monarch feeding on the fruit. We also stopped for juice to offer our little patient - Mona gratefully sipped on lemonade and apple juice, as well as from our offerings of fruit, which Lu had scattered on the inside of my once favourite hat - the hat that had become Mona's home.

I found a shady spot at the beach to park the car, yet still expected Mona to be "gone" by the time we got back. Lu excitedly exclaimed that Mona had fluttered her wings and was still feeding on the apple pieces upon our return. Once we got back home, Lu brought out her butterfly cage - which previous to now had housed frogs, beetles, worms and a moth for short periods. We quickly went to work to fill the cage with grass and leaves, a milkweed flower, sliced strawberries and a capful of lemonade (Mona's favourite).

It is now two days since we found crumpled Mona at the side of the road... and she is still with us. I am amazed at her strength of will and her inherent beauty - regardless of her injury. It is sad to think that Mona will no longer be able to soar through the back fields, to flutter from flower to flower... to rest in a shady spot... but we have at least given her a few more days on this earth with Lu hoping upon hope she will lay an egg. I am sure Mona is too traumatized to grant Lu her one wish, although this has been a wonderful learning experience for my inquisitive five-year-old who has been so gentle and kind to our bruised visitor.

I just hope Mona stays around a bit longer to continue showing Lu the wonders of nature and the power of her determination.

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