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Have You Ever Held A Butterfly?

An AI photo of a young boy wearing a cap staring at a monarch butterfly that is sitting on his hand.

Have you ever held a butterfly before? I want to share this story with you.

It was April of 2020, and we were in our first lockdown. Looking for fun activity ideas, I asked my son if there was anything he really wanted to do. “I want to hold a butterfly.” Not quite the answer I was looking for.

For Christmas, my parents had bought my kids some small nets for catching insects and things, so we headed on up to Anstey Hill where I knew there were heaps of butterflies. My son and daughter spent quite some time running and chasing, but they never caught one. We talked about how they were wild creatures, and probably don’t want to be caught anyway. Trying my adult best to rationalise to a child, “they’re probably frightened, plus they are very good at not being caught by birds, which is why they have managed to escape you.” Silent tears rolled and disappointment ensued.

Later that week we went for a walk at Morialta Conservation Park. We walked out to the first falls, ascended, and walked along the escarpment. As we came down the stairs to the Giant’s Cave, I heard my son say “Look, there’s a Monarch Butterfly coming out of its chrysalis!” I didn’t believe him, but he was indeed correct.

I don’t remember how long we sat on those steps for. We watched as a butterfly emerged and stretched out its wings for the first time so that they would dry. My son reached out his hand and the butterfly stepped on to his finger where he held it near to his face in absolute amazement. The butterfly slowly beat its wings

He was holding a butterfly. I’m glad it wasn’t one we’d caught in a net.

There’s an expression that goes along the lines of “I’d rather see the world through the eyes of a child because everything is a bit better.” Their eyes are so much clearer than ours, and not as jaded by the events of the world. There is so much mystery and simple things are complex and amazing.

But in this instance I can’t help but look at this through my adult eyes (or is this really a question of my inner child?). In the chrysalis, how on earth does a glum looking caterpillar transform into a gloopy mess to then become such a beautiful butterfly?

Maybe one day scientists will know enough to explain it well, but I hope this day doesn’t come. Because the magic is in the mystery.

David Clayton
Husband | Father | Massage Guy

David Clayton is the Principal Remedial Therapist at Myomasters Massage located in Hope Valley in the north east of Adelaide.  He has a passion for supporting humans to live the lives they were to born to live using massage and soft tissue therapies.  He has a particular interest in assisting people to recover from stress, anxiety and trauma using compassionate and nurturing touch.