Aminals and "Aminals"
At a Hunter's Hang-Out
The Animals' Saint
A Baby's Story
Dark and Evil Days
"Do they care?"
Eyes Of An Elephant
The Fawn Story
Humanity and its Vanity
In The Name Of Tradition
Letter To My Unborn Child
Let's Not Forget
Little Red Riding Hood
Man May be Mad
My Love should be more Dog-like
To My Daughter
Fight We Shall
The Greatest Gift
How Can We Do It?
Listen to Chief Seattle
My God Says
|Living in Northern New Zealand, in a
place of splendor, I was shocked and saddened to come home to find
Monarch butterflies suffering from being stung by wasps. Some died. I
picked up one who was barely alive and brought him inside. He hung,
motionless. His wings were shriveled and a small hole was torn from the
edge of his wing. It was perhaps 14 hours of this motionless behavior,
so I was afraid that he, too, had died. When he was stung, he was still
in the defenseless "clinging while drip-drying" stage, where their wings
straighten out from their 10-14 day stay in the chrysalis. (The
chrysalis, also called the pupa, is well camouflaged a green color, as
it has no other means of defense against predators.) He had just emerged
from the chrysalis, but didnıt yet know what it was like to be a
butterfly and fly in the sky. Then, high and behold, to my great relief,
he gracefully fluttered his wings, twice. Minutes later, he beautifully
spread his wings again. I could easily identify him as a male because
males have a black spot on the vein of each hind wing.
|It was raining outside, so he was inside. When the rain stopped, heıd go out for some fresh air and flower-hopping. Heıd step up onto my finger like a trained pet. He was handicapped and I was his wheelchair. He was teaching me that insects understand more than I thought! On day 3, lifeıs duties called me away so I left him outside. I soon became anxious that I left him unattended, vulnerable to wasps. I hurried home to find him at the beginning of the grassy path to my door. I put my finger out in front of him, and he stepped on. We went Zinnia hopping and he had the time of his life; from pink, to yellow, to orange; which was his favorite. They were color coordinated. I felt truly honored to share these moments in the life of a butterfly. His tentacle sort of nose served as a straw. He precisely stuck it in each pinprick hole of each tiny flower in the center of Zinnia petals. He would dive in and out, then on to another, using this feeler that uncurled from his forehead. He had impeccable aim. He didnıt want to leave the orange Zinnia, but I nudged him and escorted him over to a yellow Zinnia in its perfected state. When he drank, his wings quivered, ever so slightly, like they were being rejuvenated. I took him over to a Garland Daisy, and in no time at all he stepped back on to my finger. It seems he was not enthralled with this flower. He enjoyed the Coreopsis a bit more as a change from his usual favorite, the Zinnia. Apparently, the Monarchs use vision to find flowers, but once they land on a flower they use taste receptors on their feet to find nectar.|
I had become a butterfly babysitter, putting him to sleep into his motionless, upright position. It amazed me; this immediate trust between a butterfly and a human.
Again, lifeıs duties called me away. On day 4, two friends came during the day to tend to him. He had the pleasure of meeting two more vegan women; both very gentle like him. One of them was calling him "Transformation". The weather turned blustery and showery, once again, so we were bringing him in and out. On this day, he was more serious about drinking the elixir of life; flower nectar, which is about 20% sugar. Later, we went for a practice flying session. His wings were still quite curled up. Inside, he went right into his upright, sleep position. I would lie on my bed and think while looking at him. Every once in awhile, he would open and close his wings. I would recall what I was thinking when he extended his wings and interpreted it as a mystical message, thus came his name, Mystical.
|Itıs now day 5 of befriending
a butterfly. He canıt go out yet, as the weather is too harsh for him. I
woke him up and said good morning. He fluttered his wings and then went
back to his still position. He didnıt drink in the morning nor from
flowers I brought him.
I was leaving for a week and he was a full-time job. What to do with him became of great concern. He was at his best today because the sun had finally shone upon his wings. I would lift him to the sunny blue sky and inspire him to fly by singing a little tune that went like this: "What could be more fun than flying in the sun?" Heıd start flapping his wings and begin flying. When he landed in the grass, Iıd put my finger in front of him and his fragile, weightless, black legs stepped up unto my finger. He tried again. This time he flew over to the flower garden. On his very own, he flew from Zinnia to Zinnia! I was standing guard, shooing away wasps. It was our happiest moments together. He flew and landed right next to a bumblebee on a flower. The bee paid no attention to him, but I separated them. Another Monarch butterfly was soaring near. Various flying beings were competing for the flower nectar.
I introduced him to the guests who had arrived today as "Mystical Transformation"; a combination of the two names given to him. Two young gentle people looked after him while I left for an hour. They seemed to have a mutual affection for each other. When I returned, I discovered that he had flown away, (while they were tending to another butterfly that was fatally stung by a wasp). My initial feeling was sadness because I didnıt believe he could survive on his own. I looked around for him. Two other guests, who had witnessed his flying away with a breeze, showed me his path of flight. We searched the forest floor to no avail. Then we looked up, right where he supposedly flew. Out of our reach, was a butterfly resting on a softly swaying tree branch against a blue-sky. This butterfly wasnıt the usual fluttery butterfly, which made us think it was my special friend. He was the picture of contentment. His wings were straight, though. Could it possibly have been Mystical Transformation? Could his wings have straightened out? Did he live up to his name? Was it a sad or an incredibly happy ending? I donıt know for sure, but I hope that a creature with the incredible power to transform himself from a crawling caterpillar to a flying being, must also have the power to heal the wings he so magically created. What I do know for sure is that for five days I was in love with a butterfly, and so, hold the mysticism of his being in mine.
The habitats of Monarch butterflies are becoming threatened in both
hemispheres. We can plant Milkweed, the family of plants that they live on.
Swan plants, (in the Milkweed family), known to attract the Monarch in New Zealand, also attracts wasps. You can protect the butterfly by making a safer environment for them by:
1. Pruning the flowers off that attract the wasps of the Swan Plant,
2. Plant the Swan plants near to where you can closely keep an eye on it and then protect the caterpillars, the pupae, and the newly emerged butterfly from itıs broken-through chrysalis that was once lined with bans of gem-like gold, or
3. Plant Milkweed that has the yellow and red flower. The wasps did not seem to be interested in this flower as much as the white flowers of the more popular Swan Plant.
4. Especially protect newborn butterflies when they are drip-drying their wings after emerging from the chrysalis. Their green and 14 karat gold banned pupa turns to a translucent color where one can see the black and orange of the butterfly right through it. When this happens, the butterfly is soon to emerge. Leave it attached to the plant from which it hangs and somehow make sure it is safe from wasps at this stage. This might mean bringing it indoors, depending on what type of plant it was attached to. If it is a hardy leaf like a Caana Lily leaf, then prune the stalk with the leaf and place it indoors for protection.
5. Plant the Milkweed amongst bushy plants such as Dahlias or Zinnias, where they can form and then hide their chrysalis.
6. Our reward for this little extra effort is not only a feeling of satisfaction for helping to sustain an effective pollinator of such natural
beauty, but the butterflyıs first flight will be taken from your hand!
|M. Butterflies Katz,
Co-author of Incredibly Delicious; Recipes for a New Paradigm, Gentle World.
Copyright İ 2008 by Wanda Embar. All Rights Reserved.
Top butterfly picture by veganpoet.com. Other pictures by Wanda Embar, Vegan Peace.