My husband calls me Ellie Mae. I don't think he means this in a derisive way at all, nor do I think it's necessarily a compliment. I love all things fuzzy and furry; all things creepy and crawly. I'm fascinated by the natural world, it's processes and order. I'm not startled by snakes in the grass (unless they are of the human form) nor am I particularly disturbed by spiders (though those that make it into my home are another story). I simply love animals. At current count we have four dogs, but that number is open to change at any time. We've had to set a new rule at our home; no picking up of strays unless they are wearing a collar of some sort. Please realize this rule has been made due to our propensity to pick anything up and haul it home, and our inability to realistically house another animal...but like I said, numbers are open to change, as are rules. During our nearly 14 year marriage we have parented 7 dogs, two cordon blue finches, one green cheeked parrot, two flying squirrels, and a myriad of "sleep-overs" by strays. But now, I have a butterfly. Now, mind you, I don't actually have a little butterfly flitting around my home with a sparkly collar. Rather, my yearly attempt to lure a Monarch female to lay her eggs in my garden have finally come to fruition. For years I've planted milkweed in hopes that even one egg would make the journey from caterpillar to pupae to butterfly. Several years have passed with Momma Monarchs laying their eggs, and caterpillars emerging and munching on my milkweed plants, but not once have I had the privilege of seeing caterpillar suspend itself by it's back legs from said plant, shed it's skin, and transform into a magnificent Monarch. Sunday night I FINALLY got my wish. There he was, hanging suspended high in my milkweed plant, and by Monday morning there was a shining green chrysalis. I was ecstatic....sad, I know. Then, last night, we had a true nor-easter blow through. It was a HUGE storm, with the 150 year old trees that surround our historic home crashing down around us. Was I concerned about our roof?? No. Our cars? uh-uh. I was scared to death that something was going to happen to my butterfly. I even briefly considered going out and holding an umbrella over it. Again, it was a brief thought had at about 2 a.m.-not a time known for rational thought. And sure enough, when I went outside this morning, there was my milkweed plant smushed firmly under a HUGE limb from one of our old oaks. It was an enormous limb-one that would make a decent sized tree on it's own. And to make matters worse, wrapped around the limb was a high line wire. So, after hours on the phone trying to find out if there was anyone to come clean up the mess (there wasn't), and if the high line wire was dangerous (it wasn't) I went out to clean up the mess. I worked slowly and cautiously, but not optimistically. But then, after the tree was removed, I found the milkweed plant wasn't broken, just bent, and my butterfly wasn't gone, just hidden. It was hanging there tough and resilient, dangling by it's little back feet.This afternoon I can actually see the wings starting to develop through the chrysalis skin.
That, of course, got me thinking; I'm a lot like that butterfly. I've been crushed, hidden, and wrapped up in danger. And through it all, I have managed to hang on even if it was only by my little feet, metaphorically speaking. What has protected me is the same thing that protected my butterfly; my cocoon. I've surrounded myself by wonderful people, a strong faith, and lots of love. So, even when the world throws it's toughest and worst at me, I've been resilient. Thank goodness I have long toes ;-)