Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mother Nature and Human Nature

Well, overall I feel that this year has kinda been bad for our attempts at helping the monarch population - kinda feels like we've had lots of butterfly fails. We had a lot of eggs on our milkweed, and I started off really enthusiastic as I had visions of tons of healthy caterpillars munching around for the kids to wonder at. Reality has been lots of eggs with caterpillars that never emerged, little dried up caterpillars in the first and second instar, and big caterpillars that were vomiting or had diarrhea. We had only 5 make it to the chrysalis stage. Four have flown off on their own to face the world. And today the last of them was to emerge. It turned black and the kids saw it at breakfast, and then they were off to school and I watched it for a bit but then went on with my day too. I came at lunch and was putting dishes in the sink when I saw that it had emerged but fell off the stick - it was laying on it's back on the counter. I don't think it's wings expanded as big as they were supposed to, plus one of them was bent...
His wings seemed to have dried apart (or he hurt his back?) cause after I picked him up his wings wouldn't come together. I just felt sad about it, poor little fragile guy, he was so close!!! I put him outside and he hung on a branch for a while, but I'm pretty sure he's not going to be able to fly. His wings don't come together.
Darn it, poor thing. So do I tell the kids? Oh, the drama of it all. Why do I get involved with these little critters? Reminds me of the baby quail we found once that we tried to help that I ended up accidentally stepping on. Or seeing the deer that got hit, I'd rather just drive by and not get involved. Why open myself up to the worry/pain/awareness of the frailty of mortal life?

So I made the mistake of leaving the empty chyrsalis on the counter. The kids asked about it when they got home from school. After a few answers of just saying he emerged and I put him outside, I ended up confessing that he fell off the stick and that I thought it was hurt, and that I knew where he most likely was, as I was pretty sure it couldn't fly. So Mel and I went out to check. Sure enough, he had fallen off the flower I put him on and was on his back in the dirt. Mel spent an hour trying to help him out - she gave him juice of a clementine and did an internet search about how to fix their wings. She was sure if we got it's wings wet that would help them straighten out. I doubt it sweetie. "Well, can we try to fix him with cardstock and super glue?" Mel, that would be way too heavy for him... he's gonna die. We just gotta let nature take it's course (although I do support euthanasia in cases like this.) Let's just squish the poor thing and then he can fly in heaven. But I left her alone with it to do her thing and went out to get some school supplies for the kids. When I came back home, I saw she had made a little home for it and put it by the kitchen sink. No, not here. I moved it to her room, cause I didn't want to see it. I don't want to be dreaming about injured butterflies tonight.
So it's in her closet now.

So. Some things you should just leave be. I'd say most of those things belong to mother nature. As sad as it is, a deer that gets hit isn't going to get any help from the vet... we need to let nature take it's course. Baby bison also fall into this category (though I agree it's sad and hard to watch/think about). I'd put butterflies there too, but will let my children try to help, I think it's good for their souls to exercise compassion for these creatures that can't help themselves. And then there are other things are more horrible but also infinitely more important because they involve HUMAN life. I speak of abortion, sex trafficking, countries where rape is part of the decaying culture (please read National Review article about Denis Mukwege and his efforts to help women in the Democratic Replublic of the Congo), and helping refugees. We might want to shrink from knowing about these things cause it's just too much, too painful, too far away, and we feel there is nothing we could do to make a difference anyway, but these are areas where we need to open up ourselves and our awareness and take them in and own it and help. Learn about it and decide a way that you can help, cause those things are so important and there is something we can do.
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