Saturday, May 3, 2014

My miracle butterfly

I knew yesterday was going to be a good day because of how it started; the word miraculous comes to mind.

I had been feeling a bit sluggish lately, void of my normal Springtime fervor to clean up and air out the house, get the garden planted, and bring new life to my houseplants by finding them a new, albeit temporary home outdoors. I suppose I had fallen victim to the less than perfect seasonal weather that is not conductive to my desired tasks. My moods are definitely inspired by outside forces, like the weather, especially the older I get. So here it is May already and I haven't washed a single window.

When I got up in the morning, about 6:30, it had all changed. The birds woke me, as did the sun shining in the bedroom window. It was chilly outside, but there was promise in the air. Forecasts were predicting a beautiful weekend. I didn't need prognosticators though; my psyche seemed to sense it.

CHMusings: black swallowtailSo I bounded out of bed, fed the cats, filled the bird feeders, made a new batch of hummingbird nectar, and satisfyingly reached for that first cup of coffee. I got dressed and started putsing around in the back room of our house, the room with windows on all three sides overlooking the backyard and the woods. It is from here that I like to watch deer and birds or settle in to read a book, or enjoy a rainy day. It is my favorite place in the house. 

I had already taken some plants outside, but there was more to do. Some required additional care. For example, I had a Mother-In-Law's Tongue that clearly needed to be re-potted. I took it onto the deck where there was a partially used bag of potting soil. I left it there a couple days ago after re-potting some tomato seedlings for a container garden on the deck.

When I opened the bag, I noticed movement. That always freaks me out, as I've heard about snakes hiding in bags of potting soil. I was not in the mood for that! But upon closer inspection, I noticed a Black Swallowtail butterfly. It must have metamorphosed inside the bag.

Clearly, this butterfly wasn't well. Its wings had lost their luster, and some of their shape. It wasn't moving very much. It must have tried to fly, judging by the condition of its wings, but it had nowhere to go. I carefully let it climb onto my finger. I brought it to an azalea blooming in the front yard. I placed it onto the flower. At first it looked like it held on for dear life. I left it alone there. 

CHMusings: Mother-In-Law's Tongue plants
8 plants separated from one plant
As I went about my other tasks, such as planting what had now grown into eight Mother-In-Law's Tongues, I made an excuse to check on Madame Butterfly. Each time, she was still alive and close to the same spot where I left her. At one point she was on the ground seemingly trying to climb up an iris plant, her feet making tiny, barely visible white marks in the green of the leaf. I picked her up and attempted to put her back on the flower. She hopped onto the back of my leg. Then she disappeared. I looked all around and saw no sign of her on the ground or in the flowers. I can only assume she flew away. 

Later that afternoon, while sipping tea on the front porch, I noticed a swallowtail flitting across the yard. I have no way of knowing if it was the same one, but I hope it was. While I'm hoping, I'm also counting on her living a healthy, productive life in the fresh air surrounded by an abundance of food sources. Perhaps she will be able to lay lots of eggs that can get a much better start to their life cycles.