Just a Moment
In early June, my mom bought my little brother, Alex, a container full of butterfly eggs for his birthday. I know it sounds like a strange gift for a 10 year old boy, but he really loves butterflies. He used to follow them around the garden when he was a toddler. Called them “Assayas.” No one knows why.
Anyway, the butterfly eggs came through the mail in a little plastic container, so my mother moved them into a larger container with food. Nothing too exciting. They looked like a bunch of pearls too small to make even a pair of earrings. Alex was fascinated, though. For the rest of the week, every so often he would drop whatever he was doing and run into the kitchen to check on them. Of course, nothing changed, but he was convinced they would hatch at any second.
Finally, after five days, they hatched. Alex was REALLY excited. I think he spent pretty much the whole day watching those tiny caterpillars. I wasn’t impressed, but he loved the way they scooted around the container. My sister, Jane, kept well away from the counter where the caterpillars sat while they were growing. She was afraid those “scary little black worms” would escape and eat her cookies.
So the caterpillars sat on the counter for a couple weeks, eating the food that came with the kit (not my sister’s cookies) and crawling around. They got bigger and fuzzier, which, for some reason, made them “cute” according to Jane. By the end of the second week, the caterpillars were really fat and fuzzy, and my siblings spent more time watching them than they had ever spent watching TV. I don’t know why. All they did was eat, sleep, and crawl. Sure, it was fun to watch for five minutes, but all day?
After fifteen days, we came home from school to find the caterpillars hanging upside down, waving around. It was pretty funny to watch. I went upstairs to do my homework, and by the time I came down for dinner, half the caterpillars had finished their chrysalises. I couldn’t believe how fast they finished! My siblings had seen the whole thing, of course. I sat down to watch the rest of the caterpillars work on their chrysalises.
After my mother moved them into the butterfly box, the chrysalises didn’t do much. My siblings found other things to do, but they still checked on them once in a while. The chrysalises were slowly changing color. It was pretty cool, actually. My brother accidentally discovered that if you made too much noise or poked the box too much, the chrysalises would start waving around, like they were trying to attack you. My mother had to explain that it would be bad for the butterflies if they fell to get my siblings to stop poking the box.
After another week went by, the chrysalises were done growing. I came home from school to find the first few butterflies emerging. It was incredible. As their wings unfolded, they shook them out, not quite yet ready to fly. By the time my siblings came home, they were hopping around, trying to dry themselves. We picked them up and carried them outside into the sun, where they dried quickly. After a minute, my brother sneezed, prompting the butterflies to try out their new wings. Most of them flew off into the garden, but, for just a moment, one of them paused on the tips of my fingers, as though trying to decide if it really wanted to leave. Then it flapped its wings, took off, and was gone.
Do you have another moment?