To A Butterfly

Summer officially came to an end at 10:21 Eastern Daylight Time this morning. Welcome Autumn with a poem by William Wordsworth.


I’ve watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless!—not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again !

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister’s flowers;
Here rest your wing when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We’ll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.

—William Wordsworth

From Milkweed to Monarch

While house-sitting for friends in Massachusetts, we took care of Flute, their parakeet, and two caterpillars in the dining room. The caterpillars lived on fresh milkweed leaves from the garden. And they sure put away a lot of leaves, chewing audibly beside us during mealtime (and apparently all the rest of the time).

One day they stopped eating and attached themselves to the side of the terrarium, quiet yet pulsating, and seeming to shrink inwardly, their festive green and yellow bodies growing dark and shriveled. I stayed up as late as I could and finally had to crash. In the morning those discarded husks lay on the floor, each replaced by a gleaming jewel-like chrysalis.

Flute was a much jollier and more sociable companion, riding about on our shoulders and chatting throughout the day, but the caterpillars were a (mostly) silent reminder of the daily small miracles that surround us.