When my parents were running their two businesses, photography and camp patrol, they always rented a small cottage in Maine during July and August. Later on they included most of September, too. It was a way to relax, get away from it all and to spend time together as a couple, not just as two business partners.
They did simple things that made them happy; walks, trips to the beach, going out for dinner, meeting friends, and so on. Of course they always brought their cat with them. Over the years there were three cats (one at a time) who enjoyed those trips.
One year during their vacation there was a huge Monarch butterfly migration. They were everywhere; fluttering their beautiful stained glass wings and floating on the soft summer air. Mom and Dad just sat and watched them, enjoying the grace and beauty of the moment. I remember Mom telling me that Dad said that they looked like Halloween kites.
Halloween kites! That still makes me smile.
I was on the road the other day, feeling blue and missing both my parents. I find that grief comes and goes. Some days it is a weight on the heart, and other days it is a passing thought that doesn’t hurt, but brings back good memories.
As I stopped at a red light, a Monarch butterfly fluttered right in front of my windshield. “That’s one from Mom,” I thought. A few minutes later, a second Monarch flew by, its colors blazing in the sunlight.
I smiled to myself and said, “and that’s Dad!”
Butterflies have always been symbols of transformation and change. They begin as a humble little caterpillar, and as they grow, they develop stripes of orange, black and white. At a time known only to them, they encase themselves in their pupa, which looks like a beautiful jade-green jar. What eventually emerges is a lovely orange, black and white butterfly.
When the former caterpillar works its way out of the pupa, it is a different being. It clings to the remains of the pupa with its new long legs, and slowly moves its damp new wings up and down. By the time the wings dry and furl out to their full size, it is a beautiful butterfly. When it is ready, it moves on, bringing beauty wherever the wind takes it.
May we learn at each stage of our lives to transform ourselves into who we are meant to be and live our lives fully.
(From “Animal Symbolism”)