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Author : Harold Richter   Top Author

Once, I heard a story about a caterpillar that felt the end of the world was near. This caterpillar knew that something was affecting him and he thought he was going to die. Distraught, but accepting his fate, he built himself a coffin out of silk, crawled in and fell asleep. When he awoke, he realized that he had not died, as he had feared. He climbed out of his coffin, spread new wings and was overjoyed to find he was now a beautiful butterfly.

I know someone who has a fondness for butterflies, and a unique butterfly story.
Let me introduce you to someone once known as Butch. Butch isn’t his given name, but the nickname his family gave him when he was just a toddler. He’s now over sixty years old, married, has a good sense of humor and is technically oriented, with interests Theoretical Physics and Natural Sciences.

Ever since Butch was a small boy, he has had a deep fascination and respect for life, and living things. He would kill mosquitoes, or flies without worrying about it, but these small insects had the ability and intent to cause him much discomfort. They were a potential threat to his peace and, therefore, quickly added to his list of creatures not to be tolerated and fair game for a quick swat. Most other living things had not only free and safe passage, but were almost honored for their many interesting complexities and differences. He felt as though the wild animals found in his area were a lot like loved pets that were just harder to approach for a good examination.

As an adult, Butch, being rather scientifically minded, was slow to accept anything that could not be proven as an absolute truth. Psychic abilities, spirits, UFOs, Bigfoot, and pretty much anything else paranormal, or supernatural, were subjects that, to him, bordered on the realm of science fiction. And, to this day, he would probably be certain that all supernatural stories were no more than fairy tales, or products of an over imaginative mind, if it weren’t for one unexplainable event in his childhood.

When Butch was about six years old, he was playing in his front yard when he found a butterfly with a torn wing. The wing wasn’t badly torn, but the butterfly was down on the ground and didn’t try to fly away when the little boy approached for a closer look.

Butterflies were definitely on his good creature list. They didn’t bite and they were beautiful. This one was dark blue and black with whitish spots and iridescent blue swallowtail lobes at the bottom of its wings. The fact that this butterfly had a partially torn wing and was not flying bothered Butch. He didn’t want this beautiful creature to die, so he put his hand down and the butterfly climbed onto it.

For the next half hour, Butch would hurl this damaged butterfly into the air, over and over again, in an effort to get it to fly. Time after time, the butterfly would flap its wings a few times and return to the ground, but Butch wouldn’t give up. Toward the end of this time, his childish idea for saving this maimed insect seemed to start having a positive effect. Each time the butterfly was launched into the air, it would fly a little longer and gain a little more distance from where its flight had been started.

Then, a crisis happened. As the butterfly was starting to fly with some stability, it happened to fly into the corner of a large front window and right into a spider web. Butch screamed loud enough that his mother came out to see what was wrong. Seeing the problem, she grabbed a broom and just as the spider was moving in for the kill, she swept the whole web from the window.

Butch carefully gathered the butterfly from the remains of the web and proceeded with his unorthodox treatment. After a few more tosses, the butterfly began to fly without losing height. It flew into the backyard, over the hedges and was gone. Butch was sorry to see it leave, but felt good inside for being able to help one of his favorite backyard wild pets.

Then began something that didn’t seem unlikely to this six-year-old child, but defies understanding to anyone who can comprehend the brain capacity of an insect – which is very, very slight. A few hours after the great butterfly rescue, Butch was playing in the backyard when the butterfly came back. Butch raised his hand, as if inviting the insect to come. It flew down and landed on Butch’s hand and just sat there. Then, after a minute, or so, it took off and flew around the backyard.

This action might have been just chance, but for one thing. It happened again, and then again. It happened repeatedly for days, and then weeks and continued throughout the summer until winter came and all the butterflies disappeared. By now, Butch had named his new friend, “Butterblue.”

The next spring, Butch was again, playing in the backyard when he noticed a blue and black butterfly with whitish spots, and an iridescent blue swallowtail, on the hedge that bordered the property. He held his finger up in the air and the butterfly promptly flew down and landed on it. “Butterblue!” Another year went by with this magical behavior being displayed regularly by a creature whose brain size was smaller than the head of a pin.

For three years after the relationship started, the magic continued, but it slowly dissipated. Then, during the fourth year, Butterblue only landed on Butch’s finger three, or maybe four times, then was gone. After that, from time to time, Butch saw a butterfly he thought was Butterblue, but the magic had apparently run its course and the butterfly acted like any other butterfly in his yard, avoiding large moving things.

There are a couple of normally unexplainable points to this story. One is that the average butterfly’s lifespan is about one month. Some small butterflies live only for about a week and some Monarch butterflies can live around nine months. But, no species lives for three, or four years. From the child’s point of view, there was one butterfly, but logically there must have been many generations of the same species of butterfly that displayed this totally magical behavior.

Another thing is that this type of behavior just doesn’t happen in butterflies. An insect’s brain does not have the capacity to think far beyond the instinctive level. Making friends and “coming” when signaled are behaviors that are normally beyond the abilities of such a small creature.

This story shouldn’t have happened. It defies any scientific explanation, and I would never have believed it if I didn’t have personal knowledge of the incident because in reality, little Butch grew up to be Harold K. Richter, and that’s me. It is because of this unique happening that I cannot discount the idea that sometimes, things that absolutely cannot be explained, much less proven, do actually occur.

Author's Resource Box

Harold K. Richter, author of “Love, Life, and Laughter in Limericks,” is an enlightened, 61 year old, retired computer technician. In 2002, he moved from Delray Beach, Florida, and is now living in Floral City, Florida, where he enjoys building and repairing computers for his friends and neighbors, but occasionally he takes time out to do some deep space stargazing. He and his wife, Teresa, find comfort in relaxing on their back porch, where he writes some of his poetry and she watches the wild deer.

Harold has a degree in electronics and has done some flying. He has been a cook, a painter, a professional scuba diver, and an electronics technician. He has worked for small companies as well as large corporations, but prefers the more family like atmosphere of the smaller companies.

Harold is a mild mannered and generous man, who says he now lives in paradise. If asked, he will tell you that the best, and most rewarding, path a man can take, is to be of service to others.

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Tags:   Butterblue, butterfly, pet, friend

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Submitted : 2012-07-28    Word Count : 1187    Times Viewed: 1110