We discovered this little friend in front of the post office. It was lying on the sidewalk and seemed relieved when I picked him up. I put him in the bike trailer with Jude, and he rode home with us. My thought was I would put him on our butterfly bush where I have seen other monarchs either before or on their long journey south. It seemed safer than the main intersection in our very small town where it would have to contend with sidewalks and parked or moving vehicles.
The next morning I went out, expecting the butterfly to be gone, but he was still there with dew covered wings. I snapped some pictures and felt joyful about being in the presence of this lovely creature and being able to notice all its features so carefully. But that joy was mixed with sadness upon realizing this butterfly wasn't going to be flying south this year as a small section of one of its lower wings was missing. At that moment, I looked up in the sky and saw a beautiful bald eagle soaring above the creek about 100 feet from where we stood holding the listless butterfly.
The winged creatures always come to me with a message. So I thought about the paradox that we were witnessing. The strength of the eagle and the fraility of the butterfly...beauty in flight and beauty in the flightless...grace in living and grace in dying...the joy and sadness. Eagle is power, healing and balance of being of the earth but not in it. The butterfly is transformation and joy. Both these animals have come to me with messages in the past, but not both together. I read these lines in a book that I have called Animal Speak and it really spoke to me about the experience I had with these two winged creatures.
"Transformation is inevitable, but butterfly will help teach you that growth and change does not have to be traumatic. It will teach you that it can occur as gently, as sweetly, and as joyfully as we wish." I believe that on a very deep level I'm healing a part of me that resists change (fears death). I am finding joy in the dance of the seasons.
As summers receding flames yield gently to autumns sparks and crackles, we are given the gift of color and a new appreciation for warmth and light. We are witnessing the cycle of life on a major scale. We have the opportunity to see the world differently and to love it just as it is. Good practice for our hearts and our minds.