Monday, August 25, 2008

The Butterfly Project

Early on in the planning stage for Julia's memorial service, I knew that I wanted for there to be a live butterfly release. I've learned that butterflies are a common image used to represent people who have passed away, and babies and children in particular. Their delicate beauty reminds us simultaneously of both the breathtaking miracle and very fragile nature of new life. Some years ago I visited a "butterfly pavillion" which is basically a huge greenhouse where hundreds of butterflies live their natural life cycle and freely fly about, landing on you as you admire the flowers. After doing some research I determined that I was ready to purchase monarch caterpillars, caring for them throughout their cycle of pupating and emerging in time to be released into nature as part of our remembrance ceremony for Julia. I carefully consulted with the company that I purchased the caterpillars from, to ensure that the approximate timing of the emergence would be roughly a week or more before the memorial date.A large glass tank on our porch became out butterfly nursery. Branches of milkweed in bottles of water provided the food source. A length of sheer netting provided protection from possible predators, and the roof over our porch allowed a safe location and good vantage point for providing their care.
The impossibly tiny, and very hungry caterpillers....

We were off on our exciting adventure, and suddenly I was quite scared. Would I really be able to take good care of these little things?
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