Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hope and (Bad?) Timing

On September 15, 2008, my friend Evonnie gave us a caterpillar. She'd found it in her parsley garden and, knowing that we homeschool, thought we might want to watch it "grow up." She provided us with a generous amount of parsley to feed the 'pillar, so, of course, Cami named it "Parsley."

Parsley had a good life in our butterfly house, crawling and nibbling and growing plump and nibbling some more. We enjoyed watching the caterpillar life cycle, and were so excited to see the chrysalis after it formed.

But we wondered about the lateness of the season. Here it was, the first of October, and we had this chrysalis hanging in a mesh container in our kitchen. Now what?

We did some research on the Internet and learned that black swallowtails overwinter in their chrysalis. We thought, "Great! We'll babysit the chrysalis for a few months, watch it emerge in the spring, then release it to fly free and make more butterflies." No problem.

What we failed to do was try to simulate the conditions of winter. We didn't want to put our Butterfly Pavilion outside to get mucky and nasty.

So we hung it in Cami's room, on the end of her loft bed.

Fast-forward five months, to tonight.

For our church day this day, we circled the wagons and had a just-family day. We went to Sam's and spent some of our tax refund to stock our freezer. The evening was spent trying to put all that provision away for when we need it, and anticipating the big overnight snowfall (the prediction is 7-10 inches). Trying to steer Cami towards bed took extra minutes and patience this night.

At 11:15, after I had followed Cami upstairs yet again, she was climbing up into her loft bed. "Cami, get under the covers and I'll be right back to tuck you in." I just happened to glance at the end of the bed where the butterfly pavilion has hung for five months. I've been checking it every day lately, concerned that the butterfly will emerge and die because I failed to notice it and failed to feed it.

This night, there hung Parsley, drying his wings.

Me: (with a sharp intake of breath) "Oh, my!"
Cami: (paused at the top of the ladder to her bed) "What? What is it, Mommy? What's wrong?"
Me: "Oh, my!"
Cami: "Did the butterfly come out?"

Oh, the life lessons God gives us during homeschool. We've both been wondering if spring will ever arrive. Cami yearns for the actual season; I yearn for the metaphorical season.

I found these interesting paragraphs on butterflyschool.org:

Most butterfly pupae (chrysalides) will either turn dark or become clear when the butterfly is ready to emerge. When this happens, be especially sure that your cage is humid. Keep a careful watch! It only takes a few seconds for a butterfly to come out of its pupa!

Dead pupae often turn very dark. If you gently bend the abdominal region of the pupa and it stays bent, the pupa is probably dead.

I think I'll spend this week diving into this latest word picture that Jesus is giving me.

Candi: Jesus, will my heart always be raw and prickly and cold?
Jesus: Hang in there, Candi. Spring is on its way. I promise.

Without wavering,
let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have,
for God can be trusted to keep His promise.
Hebrews 10:23, NLT

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good job, Parsley!! May you succeed in the next stage of your life. Be beautiful for others.
Good news on a cold wintry day.

Family in Florida

betsy said...

I'm so glad that Parsley is fighting the good fight. I am counting on the fact that God protects us even when our timing is a little off.

Michael said...

And even though it's not yet Spring, Parsley has a new name with his new birth. March. Because, Cami says, "he was born in March."

March: (noun) advance; progress; forward movement

March: (verb) to walk in a stately, deliberate manner. to go forward; advance; proceed

Spring is coming.