A Butterfly Tale

I wait all winter and spring for my butterfly bushes to bloom once again(Buddlea).  Their fragrant purple lilac-type blooms delight the senses as well as attract butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and other interesting flying bugs to my backyard,  The blooming lasts until frost and my pets and I enjoy the luscious scent surrounding us when we are sitting outside after dinner.

I love butterflies and over the years there have been some interesting types visiting my butterfly bushes…some not common to the area, just passing through.  My daughter’s name even means butterfly.

The summer before my daughter was entering 8th grade, one of her requirements for that year was Biology.  A letter came the month before school informing her that one of the projects due for the first day of school was a bug collection.  Directions for catching/killing the bugs, the list of required/alternative bugs, and the correct method of mounting them.

She and I were both horrified at the thought and I approached the teacher with the suggestion that my daughter could take photographs or draw the bugs instead…a catch and release type scenario.  My request was denied.

As we looked through the list, one was a butterfly.  I told her no way was she getting one of our butterflies. We did the process together( I am very grateful I didn’t have to do this when I had Biology…and don’t get me started on dissections of anything…).

We drove to various areas outside for the different bugs and she did the research to determine what type they were.  A week before school, she had all of the types except the butterfly.  It was stated on the requirements that if one species was missing, 50% of the grade was immediately taken off.  It boiled down to the heartbreaking fact that for a grade, she needed a butterfly.  I told her I’d drive her somewhere because it wasn’t going to be one of ours…and that I didn’t want to see her catch it.

Parents’ night at the school was the 3rd week of classes.  I always attended them(funny thing is that they always seemed to be on Tuesday nights…my husband’s choir practice nights(he’s the choir master) and he never attended them with me.)  When I stepped into the Biology classroom, the whole back of the room was covered with the students’ bug collections.  The teacher proceeded to say that the bug collections would not be returned to the students because in the past she had instances when new students “reused” old collections.

I unfortunately had promised my daughter I wouldn’t make any comments to this teacher.  My thoughts are that this is a barbaric practice.  This is just one local class.  She had 70 students.  So multiply that by the amount of schools doing this and you could really deplete one species for the sake of “a bug collection”.

After her presentation ended, all of the parents went up…she looked at my name tag, “oh yes,” she stated with a small sneer, “you were the parent who inquired if your daughter could take photographs or draw them instead.”

It was not my daughter’s favorite class that year(she was an English/Art kind of student.

You are probably wondering by now why I feel that strongly about butterflies…well, here’s the tale. ..  My dear father had passed away and it was the day of his funeral.  I had pulled my mother’s chair close to the front doorway…a lovely morning in early August.  She was in her chair, my daughter was sitting in front of her on the door stoop and I was standing by my mother. All of us were looking outside at the flowering plants and birds.

Suddenly appeared a large monarch butterfly.  It first rested on my mother’s cheek then landed on my daughter’s hand and lastly landed on my shoulder before flying out the door and into the distance.

We three were stunned for a moment and then tearful smiles and a whispered, “did you see that!”  My father used to kiss my mother on the cheek, always kissed my daughter’s hand and always put his strong hand on my shoulder.

My father had come that morning as a butterfly to give us all much needed comfort and peace.

A butterfly.

til next time…Eva


4 thoughts on “A Butterfly Tale

  1. Eva… I absolutely understand why you feel as you do, but where you are so admirably in control of your ‘annoyance’, I sadly am not.

    I’d have tore a strip off that teacher and told her exactly what I thought. I’d have then written a letter to the head of the school saying what an ignorant and barbaric thing to request ANYONE to do, let alone ask a child to do it. And then, I’d have gone that extra mile and written to whoever is in charge of schools there, and told them exactly what I felt about this horrific and disgusting rule about killing something which included a threat of losing 50% of their marks if something on the list isn’t killed and presented in the way it should be. I’d have been demanding a change in their rules.

    For goodness sake, it took more trouble to catch a bug, photograph it properly and then present a photograph, than it did to find, kill and hand it over. OH!!! grrrr.

    I’d point out also that this type of killing goes entirely against Buddhists beliefs let alone any other personal beliefs, and in this multi-cultural world in which we now live, we need to be observant of others beliefs and not force someone to bend to our will.

    We should all strive to develop a little more respect for life – be it a person or a bug.

    OK, stepping down from my soap box now ….

    On a personal note –
    My youngest daughter was very close to my (passed on) mother (her Grandmother) and on her wedding day a few short years ago, my daughter kept saying that she wished “nanny could be here”.

    In a quiet moment, whilst I was dressing for the wedding, I asked my mum to let us know that she was there by the appearance of a butterfly at the church. (Yes, I was that explicit. I wanted no doubt)

    Upon leaving the church a white butterfly appeared from nowhere and danced around us like an excited child.

    My daughter and her new husband left the church grounds after the photographs had been taken, and went to my mother and fathers grave and layed her wedding bouquet on the grave, as she wanted to share her flowers with them. A white butterfly appeared there too.

    Then afterwards, at the wedding picnic (my daughter had a picnic outdoors for their wedding celebration meal) – the appearance of another white butterfly, this time fluttering around the table where the wedding cake was sitting, and then around us all, and it stayed with us for quite some considerable time. It was at that point I quietly told my daughter about my ‘ask’ for my mum to show she was there by the appearance of a butterfly.

    By the time I’d finished telling her, we were both choking back tears, knowing that the butterflies we’d all seen were a message from my mother, for my daughter. She wanted my daughter to know that she was there. And we know she was. She wouldn’t have missed that day for all the tea in China.

    In the same way your Dad sent a butterfly … a message can be seen, it doesn’t need to be heard in order to tell you what *they* need you to know, and seeing that message can be more than mere evidence.

    I’ve always held that you can’t ‘die’ for the life of you. There is something more after this life. I know there is.
    Sending love by the bucket-load ~ Cobs. x

    • Dear Cobs, I well agree with what I “should have done” back then but I didn’t have that in me at the time…I was literally wiped out in that point in time having just spent 7 years of 24/7 caregiving for my parents. Not that I am making excuses, it was what it was at the time.
      Glad that your daughter had her nanny there for her wedding and thank you for telling us your experience…always glad for your comments. love, Eva

  2. Ohhhh No! dearest Eva … I wasn’t telling you what you “should have done” … I honestly wasn’t.

    I was saying how much I ADMIRE you and how you can keep your peace, – when I know I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself from complaining.

    Ohh Eva. I honestly truthfully, cross my heart wasn’t telling you what you should have done. I feel just wretched now. So upset that I’ve offended you. I wouldn’t ever intentionally do that Eva.

    Please, I beg you, – please remove my post, (and this one) because I hate that anything I’ve said has made you feel I was criticizing you. I really wasn’t. I wouldn’t ever. EVER. Please remove the original comment and this one.
    Many thanks in advance

  3. Dear Cobs…you WEREN’T criticizing me…I fully realize that…you put words to what I WANTED to do all those years ago…and was afraid to. Afraid that the teacher/school would retaliate against my daughter and cause anguish for her in that time of her life when she had enough to worry about. And that being said, it did enable my daughter to become the strong young woman she is now…she takes nothing from nobody! And has pushed me forward that I would not have tread. Thank you Cobs…it’s all good. love, Eva

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