One of the biggest challenges for every guy is what to get your wife for her birthday. With us, over the years jewelry, clothes and artsy stuff have already been covered. Well, I found the perfect gift! Last weekend I wrote about the peace and serenity we've found in our butterfly garden, right down to our first "visitor" a beautiful Monarch.
Struggling to think of what to get Sheila for her birthday I decided to speed the butterfly process along, having no idea the pure joy I'd find myself. Using Google I discovered the Florida Monarch Butterfly Farm just an hour away in St. Petersburg. While the idea of releasing butterflies is most often tied to weddings, when you're trying to build a butterfly garden, the idea had even more significance.
I spoke with the owner, "Dale" several times during the process and set up a time to pick up our purchase of a dozen to release yesterday. What I never anticipated was the quick lesson and the fun of the experience of learning more about butterflies.
Dale gave us the tour of his backyard and each step of the process of raising butterflies. Armed with a LUMIX FZ300 it was the perfect camera for the process. From the caterpillars to the butterfly pupae to an incredible variety of plants they enjoy, it was the perfect crash course for us to appreciate the new hobby we've acquired.
Getting the "kids" home we opened the box and each one was delicately packed in its own custom-made envelope. Each one was released with a smile and a wish after Dale gave us a copy of an old Indian legend.
If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first
capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.
Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal
the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all.
In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom,
the Great Spirit always grants the wish.
So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom,
the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.
Most of the butterflies stuck around for a long time. Sheila released each one right onto the flowers of several very special plants in the garden. The Monarchs never strayed very far and three hours later they were still flying around the garden. The Zebra Longwings, also stuck around. And, if it's supposed to good luck to have one land on your shoulder, is it even better luck if they land on your head?
So, guys, the next time you're looking for a unique gift here it is, butterflies. And, to my wife Sheila, who I've now been around for the last ten birthdays, sure do love ya. What a kick to share a life with you.
To all of you, with or without butterflies, I'm hoping you have a Sunday filled with the people you care most about, Always go for those eleven-second hugs and thanks for hanging out with me for a few minutes on a Sunday.
And to Dale at Florida Monarch Butterfly Farm - what a gift you gave us yesterday! "Thanks" doesn't begin to cover the pure joy of the day.