I’ve always liked butterflies. There’s something about them that shouts of God’s abundance in blessing the world with, as the old Anglican hymn says, “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” That’s one of the reasons we planted several lantana bushes in the backyard. Not only are the lantana blossoms bright and beautiful in themselves, they attract butterflies in some quantity.
When admiring butterflies, I often find myself humming Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” which includes a line in the chorus that goes “butterflies are free to fly . . . fly away . . .” And fly they do — sometimes thousands of miles. Despite their weight of just half a gram and the apparent delicacy of their wings, monarch butterflies migrate each fall from North America to a spot in southern Mexico. The swallowtails pictured here don’t fly that far (and I don’t know how far this gap-winged girl will make it), but it brings pause to think that the butterflies feasting on the lantana blooms in my backyard could be making a pit stop on their way to the annual reunion.
On Sunday afternoon, I decided to lie on the grass with my head beneath the edge of the bush, watching the butterflies from beneath, trying to sense their fleeting shadows as they passed across my body, just appreciating one small wonder of creation.
Of course, not all creatures appreciate things in the same way. I noticed this garter snake occupying a nearby bush. I suppose it might eat a butterfly if it could catch one, but until the sound of my camera shutter sent it into hiding, this one had its eye on a fat bumblebee near the end of the stem.
Not many people admire snakes as they do butterflies and even fewer sing about them, but they are also part of God’s bright and beautiful creation, free to glide and to hide and to be what they were made to be.
Which brings to mind the question of whether we are doing what we can to live our own lives as God created us to be, bright and beautiful in our own way, making the world a richer place.
As Snuffy Smif of the funny papers likes to say, “Time’s a wastin’!”