Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Very Surprising Visitor

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, but haven’t had the chance. Last month I had a very surprising –and very welcome –visitor to my garden. One I never expected in my wildest dreams. It was a warm, sunny day and I went outside early in the morning to do some tiding up in the yard and garden before a craft show I was going to started in the afternoon. Butterflies were everywhere, mostly swallowtails of every sort. My house is the only one in my area to get these lovely beauties; probably because mine is the only one with flowers planted. I have loved butterflies since I was a child. To me, they are Hope and Light given wings. But I had never, ever expected to get such an esteemed visitor in my garden.

I first noticed here when I was deadheading some flowers. She was darting here and there among them. Part of my mind registered the fact that she was different from the others, but the conscious part didn’t think anything of it. When I finished my chores and cleaned up I got a cup of coffee and sat on the porch to enjoy the view. It was then that she landed on the porch railing.

I froze. I couldn’t move. I took a deep breath and felt my eyes widen. It couldn’t be. My eyes were playing tricks on me. She took the air again in a sudden moment and did a wonderful, airy dance. Then she landed again –on the porch, less than a foot from my right hand. Suddenly I couldn’t even breathe. She was so incredibly beautiful. Her wings glowed like jewels in the morning light. Never had I expected to see such a wonder outside of an enclosure or a book! She sat there on my porch for what seemed like an eternity. Her wings gently opening and closing. Then suddenly there was a whoosh of air, and she took off in a furious burst of jewel colored wings. She circled my yard once more, and then she was gone, into the wild blue sky.

For another long moment I couldn’t move. Then I blinked. No, I decided. It couldn’t be. She had to just another common swallowtail. What would such a wonder be doing around here? But I had to be sure. The craft show I was going to that day was at the local Botanical Gardens. So, I stopped by the butterfly house while I was there. They had pictures on all the walls of different butterflies. I found the one that matched the beauty who had visited me, and sure enough, it was the same one. Then I went into the Butterfly House –an open air enclosure that holds dozens of species of endangered butterflies in the hope of breeding enough to replenish the species –and there were hundreds of her kind, all dancing around the flowers and the ponds. One alighted on a wood railing right beside. My breath caught again. And it was then I knew for sure.

Wherever she came from, wherever she was going, I have no clue and will never know. That will remain a mystery forever. But one thing I will always know for sure. On a warm, sunny October morning she stopped by my garden for a visit. I have never felt more honored. And Madam Monarch, wherever you are, thank you for the honor of your visit!


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