I read this week about a lady who repaired the broken wing of a Monarch butterfly so that it could fly again and embark on its incredible migration across thousands of miles to warmer climes.
Romy McCloskey from Texas, a costume designer by trade, had been looking after some Monarch caterpillars since last Autumn when she collected a few from her garden. She had reared them from caterpillar to chrysalis.
Then last week as they emerged from their metamorphosis, Romy noticed that one of the butterflies in her care had a badly damaged wing and, knowing that it would be unable to fly in this state, with impressive patience she meticulously carried out an incredibly intricate repair using a good wing from a deceased butterfly and the tools of her costume designing profession, including needles, thread, beads and delicate fabrics.
Sharing the operation step by step on her Facebook page, Romy said “I was, needless to say, heartbroken at the thought of having to put him down. Then a friend sent me a video on repairing wings. I figured, since I do so much designing, cutting and putting together of costumes... I could give this a go. And I'm really glad I did!”
She considered that restoring the butterfly's ability to fly was worth a few hours of her time.
The next day she released the butterfly and was delighted to see it tentatively try its wings and fly away. Romy said on the day of release “We had a successful flight! A quick spin around the backyard, then a little rest on one of the bushes... then..... off he flew! My heart soared with him!”
This true story filled me with hope. Because fixing a butterfly's wing really is, as I see it, a metaphor for fixing our world.
To care enough to even think of doing such a beautiful thing for a tiny creature, whose suffering would normally be overlooked, shows compassion.
To take the time to research and carry out the delicate repair takes patience and understanding
And to experience the pleasure of releasing the butterfly shows a selfless empathy in witnessing the freedom of another life form, however lowly.
These are all lessons about living in a way that is respectful of others and of appreciating all forms of life in this world, however small or seemingly insignificant.
Compassion, patience, understanding and empathy. If we could all strive for these qualities then perhaps the world would be a better place.....
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