The butterfly

Down-time and sick time lately following graduation has left me thinking a lot about things– about the past, and about how quickly time has flown by. A recent memory that I can’t seem to clear from my mind involves myself, a zoo parking lot and a butterfly.

butterflywithbrokenwingsIt was a long time ago; I was probably 6 or 7 years old, and leaving the zoo during a vacation. It was a sweltering hot afternoon; I remember there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. All I wanted to do was go to the car and have a cold drink. Was thinking about the rest of the day and what would happen next. The day had been fun. I loved going to the zoo. I loved looking at all of the animals (even though now I realize how cruel it really is for them to be kept in cages). Animals were, and still are, very special to me. One of my favorite places to visit at zoos was the butterfly house. I just loved stepping inside and seeing them up-close, having them land on your shoulder, flutter around in your face. Sure, the butterflies are trapped, but they must be treated with respect. Zoo staff are on watch to make sure they don’t get injured, or escape. But apparently, that day, the workers were not paying enough attention.

So as we walked to the car, an overheated walk that seemed to take forever for little, hungry me. Struggling to make distance with my short legs, I spotted something on the ground. It was a butterfly. The one that got away. A bit of its wing was torn off, it was laying there hopeless, on the cement. Young me wanted to rescue it. Young me didn’t want to believe that it was already too far gone. Young me started to cry. Young me never forgot that moment, and still thinks about it every time a butterfly passes my way.

Butterflies are amazing creatures. Graceful and elegant, they are a sign of spring. The beauties come out when the weather is warm, flying around with their gorgeously-detailed wings. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes, but we love them all the same. They are all stunning in their own way– a bit like people.

The thing that probably bothered me most about that fallen butterfly wasn’t so much that it was broken. It didn’t bother me that it escaped into the real world and got hurt. What hurt me most was that it had given up. Really, what other choice did it have? I wasn’t there to see what happened. It could have been stepped on, hit by a car, who knows? The weather was hot that day too, and once it fell, it might have just not regained strength to get back up and keep going. I don’t blame it. But that broken butterfly, feeble and helpless on the cement, has inspired me ever since that hot summer day. It has inspired me to get up and keep going. Because regardless of what happens, giving up is not an option for me. Like the butterfly, I was put on this planet to do great things, and make others happy through my talents and creativity. No matter what is thrown my way, I won’t be like that butterfly. When I go out into the world, I will be cautious, remembering that little, broken butterfly. But I will persevere, and keep flying and fluttering, until I reach that big flower. β™₯

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