“A power of Butterfly must be —
The Aptitude to fly
Meadows of Majesty concedes
And easy Sweeps of Sky —”
— Emily Dickinson, “From the Chrysalis”
Two signs of spring, flowers and butterflies, share commonalities. Though delicate in appearance, they are both actually quite tough. A flower’s slender stalk surfaces from often still-cold, packed ground, while a butterfly strains against its hardened protein chrysalis. And while a flower does not metamorphose from a creeping creature with multiple legs to a beautiful winged vision in flight, it does provide a beautiful landing pad.
Flower and butterfly species number in the thousands, variances in colors and patterns seemingly infinite. A spring dance of new life, butterflies fluttering among and throughout vivid, fragrant gardens, signals Easter, resurrection, and warmth.
No wonder that the ability of whisper-thin wings to soar and travel for miles and days has, for centuries, inspired florid prose by the likes of Dickinson, Keats, Wordsworth, and Frost. That an eastern monarch may have traveled as far as 3,500 miles from overwintering in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico to glide effortlessly into the backyard is astounding.
Butterflies and flowers also share mutual dependence for survival. Consider that when a butterfly lands on a flower to drink nectar, the flower’s pollen becomes attached to the butterfly’s legs and body as the butterfly moves from flower to flower, thus transferring pollen. In addition to nectar, butterflies require flowers’ leaves to hide, rest, and lay eggs.
Spring’s lively cycle is dependent on fragile strength, and humans need only observe and enjoy.