Warmth, It's not just for Butterflies

Tropical Checkered SkipperThis past Saturday, we celebrated Spike’s 14th birthday party. (He’s our giant, African Spurred Tortoise, in case you didn’t know.) The morning temperatures started in the 40s, and rose only slightly, which means we thin-blooded Valley folks were FREEZING!!

As I led a couple dozen Girl Scouts down the Hackberry Trail, we were stopped in our tracks, repeatedly, by downed butterflies; they, too, were freezing.  Fortunately, the girls were careful not to step on these sleeping beauties, so I showed them how best to handle and relocate them to some place safe and warm.

Throughout this chilly morning, we talked about weather and seasons, and all the needs we humans have to survive the world in which we live.  As always, I was awed by their energy and curiosity.

Oh, to have the wild-eyed wonder and endless reserves of a ten year-old, again! For most of these kids, I could tell every day is about blowin’ and goin’.  While a couple of daydreamers lagged behind, happy to distance themselves from the commotion and noise, the rest of the super-charged, catch-me-if-you-can kids raced ahead, pointing and climbing, pulling and jumping.

As I watched them flit about, I realized I had a bevy of butterflies on my hands—and these were not about to succumb to the cold.  Clothed in heavy coats and caps, they knew nothing of conserving energy or suspended animation; the only temporary stops in their young lives involve time-outs and naps, both of which are anathema.

I tried to speak with them about dormancy, and how critical periods of rest are to all living things, but they weren’t having any of it.  As one child made it ‘snow’ by shaking the leaves from a tree, silently I pondered, how far away their winters are…

As the world begins to count down to the close of another year, I am happy to coast for a bit, linger a little longer, pause to indulge nostalgia and get waylaid by ghosts that rarely appear.  Soon enough, spring will be here, inciting us to push forward; singing Nature’s ceaseless refrain of renewal.

Until then, may Warmth be your companion and comfort; not only during the holidays, but every day.  Shalom.

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Inside the National Butterfly Center

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National Butterfly Center
3333 Butterfly Park Drive
Mission, TX 78572
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