This is a true story, and I don't blame you if you don't believe it, because I hardly believe it, but it's what happened and I do have a witness. And to whoever came up with this plot obstacle to put me up against, a big SCREW YOU, because it is terribly, terribly contrived. Stop stretching credibility just to torture me, ' kay?
So on Sunday, A., a relative I've never gotten to spend one-on-one time with before, came to visit me and was such delightful company, my throat was sore all yesterday from chatting so much. I took her out to
As we were walking the path, we approached a family walking ahead of us, a woman and man and 3 or 4 small children. I didn't completely register it at the time, but they were all carrying butterfly nets. No, really! And a little boy in the middle of the path was carrying one of those expensive mesh butterfly cages half the size of my dollar store hamper that I mentioned in the last post. As we got closer, and I strained to see, much to my horror, there was a monarch butterfly inside. I walked much faster to catch up to them and could see it was indeed a female monarch AND IT COULD VERY WELL BE VERID! Oh boy.
I'm not sure if he didn't understand all I was asking him or if he was being evasive, picking up that he may be dealing with a disapproving adult who wanted to take his butterfly away from him. He insisted it was not ready to fly, though she was fluttering away in the container. And I did my best to explain that this butterfly was indeed ready to fly and needed to be released now. I told him about the butterfly I just raised from a caterpillar I found and pointed to where, and that I had just released, and that there was a shortage of butterflies now and it was important that she fly free and not be caged. It was not clear to me from what he said if he was planning to bring her home and then release her or not. But A. was getting nervous next to me, I had said all I could say and ask, my good girl training to not make a scene was kicking in, and I was afraid of looking crazy to my more reserved relative, so we started to walk on and walked a few paces down the path.
And then with a moment to reflect, it sunk in that EVERY MEMBER OF THIS FAMILY WAS CARRYING BUTTERFLY NETS, and there's no way this was a butterfly they raised and brought down to walk around the lake and take home again, WTF?, and that they were obviously here to catch butterflies AND THAT MIGHT VERY WELL BE MY VERID!!! I had no idea if they were going to really release her in a day or in a good spot, or if they were going to keep her captive until she died, or if they intended to stick a pin in her and put her in a box for the boy that he could put away in a drawer and forget about by the time he was nine. AND THAT MIGHT BE MY VERID!!! This all passed through my mind in moments.
So I told A, I need to turn around and go back. She asked about what I intended to do, and I told her if I couldn't talk them into releasing her, then I would have to unzip the case myself, or grab it away to unzip it if I had to. A. mentioned the police might not understand and I nodded I understood that, but I can't walk away and had to see that butterfly, whom I might have raised, freed to fly, whatever it took.
As we approached, the family had walked down toward the lake and the wildflowers around it.
The parents were talking with the little boy, and then, whether it was the father or the little boy himself I can't remember clearly, they opened the case and let the butterfly out--HUZZAH!!! and the children ran to follow the path the butterfly took above them. I cheered and praised the children with great praise about what a wonderful thing they had just done
And as I watched and praised the kids, I saw another monarch butterfly fly out to the edge of the elm tree branch right above the shrub, as if to meet her, like her Sam. Could that have been PR Officer coming to join Maybe!Verid and lead her upwards to safety? We will never know, but those are the only two monarchs I have seen around the lake in weeks, and now these two. That doesn't mean there aren't others, and they're necessarily the same two, but you know, you know, you never know.
I hope the family freed her because the parents understood what I was saying
It's possible they mistakenly took me for a better cultural authority than themselves, which I would be sorry for, but glad for the result anyway. Or maybe they are properly protective parents and just didn't want to take a chance that their kids might be assaulted by another crazy lady like me over catching butterflies, which would be wise of them.
It did later dawn on me that they could have gone back and tried to catch the butterflies again after we were out of sight, but I just have to trust that Maybe!Verid will know to stay out of their reach now. There's a million dangers out there--I just hadn't expected that one--a nice little family armed with butterfly nets running around Greenbelt Lake. I've never seen that there before--WHY NOW? What an absolute NIGHTMARE! I will see nice little families armed with butterfly nets in my dreams now and wake up screaming. Oy.
I hope they learn that the way to best educate their kids to love and respect nature is to teach the kids to raise caterpillars and give them safe haven until they emerge and are ready to fly away, not to capture the ones flying free. This is even more important now that there is a decline in the butterfly population. And that's why I'm not pleased by seeing those butterfly nets being sold online with butterfly cases. I'm hoping that this family doesn't feel they need to use these nets again because they purchased them and don't want to waste the purchase. Butterfly wings are so easy to damage, and there's always a risk of inflicting damage when you net a butterfly. Most have such a short amount of time to live and mate that it's a wrong to cage ones that were flying free. The experts, like the people who run butterfly houses you can visit, raise the butterflies they keep there from caterpillars and know how to provide for them for their whole life cycle.
I sure hope Verid doesn't tarry and that she, PR Officer, and any others of their brood who might have emerged get themselves to Mexico safely.
I'm not walking near any railroad tracks in the near future because I don't want to see a monarch butterfly tied to them. And if I see a big spider with a monarch in its web I'm going to freak out for sure. I can't fly, so I can't always be her Sam. I hope PR Officer is up for the job. I want the story where the protagonists fly away and live happily ever after, OK? lbilover, I think you wrote one of those. I need the link, please. Thank you. <3
I will post Verid's baby pics and the earlier stages of her chrysalis in upcoming entries. I hope I don't have anymore ongoing reports about Verid, unless it's that she is happily fluttering around the lake, and that she is nowhere to be seen here by November.
Also posted at http://lavendertook.dreamwidth.org/1221