Saturday, October 5, 2013

Counting Butterflies

Things don't always go exactly as we plan.  

Take butterflies.  

When I first saw three monarch cocoons in the flower garden, I visualized the interesting photos I was going to capture when the creatures emerged.

The first butterfly hatched when we were gone.

When we returned, it was still clinging to the transparent shell that had been its home for about 2 weeks.

It stayed there for some time, drying its wings and doing little stretches, before taking a short flight to some nearby foliage.  

After another rest, it headed off into the blue.

monarch butterfly chrysalis

One of the cocoons that remains has been there for 16 days, the other, 17.  
By different accounts, the process should take 8 to 10 days, or 10 to 14 days.  
At this point, I'm facing the fact that it is unlikely the small creatures 
will ever break free from their gilded prisons.

While in butterfly watch mode, a few things became apparent.
At the outset I should have remembered the old adage (paraphrased):

"Don't count your butterflies before they hatch."

I also noticed that it's not always practical to plan one's schedule around a bug, 
even if it might become a butterfly.
In things as light as butterflies, and as weighty as our own lives, 
it's good to remember the ancient wisdom:

Every living creature is in the hands of God.

Job 12:10

Of course, there's always next year.  
If our live butterfly makes it to Mexico, 
maybe the offspring will return here next year 
and lay hundreds of eggs on our milkweed plant.  
Then, who knows?   
But there I go, counting butterflies again.  
Oh well, one could do worse than be a counter of butterflies.


S. Etole said...

It looks so beautiful against the blue sky.

Cindy said...

Beautiful shots! Love the one with the sky background.

Beth @ E. Lizard Breath Speaks said...

amazing shots. i love monarchs. ( :

Kerri Farley said...

A Beautiful post....and how blessed you were to have even one to count :)

Sandra said...

Those Monarch butterflies are so stunning in the beauty of their markings. I'm so glad that one of them has broken free of its cocoon. Beautiful photography and I love that last one against the sky making me think of the long flight ahead.

S Keller said...

Oh my- so beautiful! I have stopped by your blog a few- okay, about a dozen, times to see the miracle. Thanks for spending your time watching for us. The whole series has been delightful.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Lovely post. The butterfly we saw hatch did so very quickly so it would likely be very difficult to catch it happening - but at least they stay still enough for that first hour or two afterwards to let you take some great photos. One could indeed do worse than be a counter of butterflies.....and there IS always next year!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

I know this feeling too well myself and yet to have had one hatch this late...and to have experienced even part of the journey, that was a sweet blessing. Happy weekend~

Lisa Gordon said...

What a beautiful post, and equally beautiful photographs, Connie.

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi What a wonderful shot of this beautiful butterfly.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Marvelous!!!.. Fantastic macro.. Cheers..

Brian King said...

How cool! What beautiful photos!

Terri Buster said...

I still have hopes for the one hanging- you never know!

Anonymous said...

A lovely way to learn a lesson! The series has been delightful.

Jennifer Richardson said...

oh, this touches my heart so deeply.
not counting butterflies before they're hatched but leaving them
to the One who does all good things
in His own time:)
Beautiful heart needed this.
Thank you, beautiful Connie,

Kim Stevens said...

Oh Connie I'm so sorry, I know how disappointing it can be. Unfortunately the chrysalis you have pictured here has black death. It's caused by a bacteria usually from too much moisture (has it rained a lot?) The virus cases the cells to rupture and destroys the cellular structure of the caterpillar/chyrsalid. You should dispose of them to prevent it from spreading. The chrysalis will turn black, but not a solid black (you will be able to see the wings through it) and they will turn evenly.

Beautiful captures of the male Monarch, and so great that he hadn't flown away.

Connie Smiley said...

Yes, Kim, we had a couple of big rains, and the cocoon got soaked. I do so appreciate you sharing your expertise.