Many cultures consider butterflies a metaphor for the soul's journey.
Butterflies have a short life span, most only living one to two weeks.
Monarchs have a longer life span, living around 6 months.
They teach us to see the beauty in life, to remind us about just
how short life is, and to make the most of every moment, smelling the flowers.
They remind us that like the caterpillar's metamorphosis from lowly
caterpillar to beautiful butterfly, death is just another transformation.
The ancient Greeks, Romans and Mexican's believed that
butterflies were the souls of those who have passed.
Last week-end we visited Monarch Madness at the Madoc Skate Park. This was an event put on by Quinte Conservation http://quinteconservation.ca . My kids and niece and nephew loved it. We had not known that there would be a display of snakes and turtles. The kids loved touching and holding the snakes. After we had looked at the snakes we made our way over to the butterfly area.
We spoke to this really lovely lady who told us about the Monarch butterflies. There were tiny baby caterpillars, big fat caterpillars almost ready to make their silky home and monarch cocoons. She talked about their life cycle and how the kids could help to save the Monarchs.
Monarch butterflies are listed on Ontario's Endangered Species Act as "of special concern". That means that they are a species at risk. It is estimated that the species may have declined as much as 40% last winter. Part of the suspicion for their declining numbers lies in Mexico's deforestation, and some on the over use of pesticides and natural habitat elimination. Monarch's only lay their eggs on milkweed plants, and it is their young's primary source of food and protection. The milkweed is a noxious weed and poisonous to birds and other predators. By laying their eggs on the milkweed plants, the Monarch's protect their offspring. The tiny newly hatched caterpillars eat the milkweed, and gain it's toxicity, protecting it from predators. Part of the answer to the decline of the Monarch is to plant more butterfly gardens and include in those gardens milkweed plants.
Jamie Prud'homme was an 8 year old girl who went to Albert College School in Belleville. She loved nature and she really loved butterflies, specifically monarchs. In 2008 she passed away suddenly. To remember their daughter and her beauty, her parents Chris and Laurie Prud'homme began to make a difference. Every year her parents bring something special to her school on her birthday, September 20. They call it Jamie Day. They have brought in theatrical productions, and educational resources. That school is enriched because of the love of their child. On June 5, 2013 Albert College dedicated the "Jamie P. H. Memorial Garden". This garden was supported by her parents and the school. It is shaped like a butterfly and has flowers in Jamie's favourite colours of pink and purple. It is a waystation for migrating monarch butterflies. In fact it is the largest waystation in Quinte and is recognized by Monarch Watch monarchwatch.org. Chris and Laurie also donated the milkweed plants that had been grown in a greenhouse to be distributed on the various Monarch Madness days that have occurred throughout our area. What a stunning way to remember and share their love of their child.
I understand Chris and Laurie's need to keep Jamie's memory alive and to enrich their world because of her. Christopher and I do the same thing for our son Gabe. http://themiddleagedwomanwholivedinashoe.blogspot.ca/2014/01/gabes-spirit-of-kindness.html
To loose a child is every parents worst nightmare. It creates a huge hole in your soul, and we found that by sharing Gabe with the community and all the things that made him so special, celebrating in others those shared beautiful traits, made our grief a little more bearable.