Things don't always go exactly as we plan.
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.
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.
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.