Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What Do You Do With a Dying Monarch?

At first I thought it was a leaf caught in the wind, but when it landed in my hand, I could see that it was moving too regularly. No, it was a monarch butterfly that had either run out of time or seen some serious action. Its wings were smashed. A few of its legs had been lopped off. It was broken. It seemed to move with great difficulty.

But it was moving, at least.

My first reaction was to just squish its little head, to save it from the pain, but I couldn’t do that. I’m honestly unsure that butterflies can feel pain. Besides, looking into its big eyes, I felt like it wasn’t my place. However, I also couldn’t leave it alone. So I just stood there, watching him beat his wings as he rested in my hand.

I put the butterfly on a cement paver — yes, that cement paver, actually — and just sat next to it. It didn’t care or probably even know, I realize. I’m totally projecting that it wanted me there. I would have wanted someone there.

I took some videos of what happened. That seemed important. Sometimes it was looking directly at me.

I’d never gotten so close to a butterfly for so long. I’d never gotten such a close look at one. You’d think it would look alien, but butterflies are more people-y than other insects; their proportions make them easier to anthropomorphize in your head.

Sometimes it seemed like it was struggling to do something. I couldn't tell what.

And then it eventually stopped struggling.

I put it on an orange kalanchoe when it stopped moving. Last I checked, it was still there.

So what spiritually devastating thing happened to you today?

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