The first couple of months of Year 2020 has been loaded with events from earthquakes, the eruption of Taal volcano, social issues and to this day, the COVID-19 pandemic. It has taken the lives of many people, put the health of our essential workers at risk, altered the education system, disrupted the economy and our normal routines.
I’d like to believe that it’s not all bad news. There are stories of miraculous healing and recovery, people helping people, and countless testimonies of God’s awesome work of redemption!
I’ve been staying and working from home for the past 2 weeks in line with our State and hospitals’ guidelines on COVID-19 precautions – observing social distance and trying to ‘flatten the curve.’ It was a bit of a challenge to me personally, to transition from my everyday commute, busy work life and other social responsibilities. But God, in HIs wisdom and perfect timing, used such situation in glorious and amazing ways – That’s where my story on these Monarch Butterflies begins…
Our neighbor has milkweed plants that attract a lot of Monarch Butterflies. One day, I saw a pupa or chrysalis hanging by our gate and when i told him about it, he graciously offered to tie it with a string and hang it in his handpainted birdhouse.
A day later, he dropped of a lovely red and green birdhouse with stenciled gold decorations and 6 chrysalis. Yes, Six!
My jaw dropped and i think he saw my face turn pale. It kinda freaked me out and i didn’t want to accept it but he assured me that they will be fine and that it would be very exciting to watch them transition from stage to stage. And so i took them in and started to educate myself on how to care for them.
You might want to read on the life cycle of the monarch butterflies. Their chrysalis is beautiful, green, opaque with gold accents. As they mature, within 2 weeks, it turns darker and very transparent that you can even see the wings. The photo on the right was about 10 hours before this particular butterfly actually eclosed – a term used when insects, including butterflies, emerge as adults from a pupa or chrysalis.
I set up my Samsung Note 9 and did a hyperlapse video to capture the moment. I started at 8AM and it eclosed at around 9 AM. Watch the video to see how it expands its wings by pumping out fluid from its abdomen. Amazing!
It takes a couple of hours for butterflies to fully dry and expand their wings. So, i let it hang out and later placed a soft mesh over the top, allowing it to grasp, crawl and freely flap its wings. It is important not to touch their wings at this time.
The photo on the left was the first butterfly however, the right wing was deformed, most likely due to a parasite. This one survived for probably a day. It was sad but it taught me to be brave and gentle at the same time.
The weather that afternoon was very sunny with a little breeze. Once i saw that Thirdy was ready to be released, i let him crawl on my index finger and placed him on a milkweed to get some ‘juice.’ It didn’t take long before it briskly fly away.
Monarch butterflies play an integral role in our ecosystem. They are very unique in how they migrate thousands of miles and in the way that the caterpillars only eat Milkweed. These plants are commonly found in open land however, due to urban development and the use of pesticides, they are slowly disappearing. By the way, milkweed is toxic to humans, so be careful.
We may all feel cooped up these days but we have to remember that all these will pass. We have to keep our faith and hope in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. After some time, we too will burst out of our ‘chrysalis’ and fly! In the meantime, let take this opportunity to slow down, to sit still and know how to wait on the Lord, to meditate on God’s word, to pray, to reach out to others, to serve and spend time with our families while observing social distance and enjoy the simple pleasures in life like enjoying the clear blue sky and nice breeze.
Psalm 91:1-2 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom i trust.””