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.
til next time…Eva