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DANAUS - The Rescued Butterfly

The other day my husband, Terry, was blowing huge piles of leaves that the swirling, shifting Autumn wind had deposited directly outside of our sunroom door.

We moved here a year and a half ago. Our place is a rather small, brick ranch, nothing special really. But we are surrounded by the most spectacular example of mother nature in a never-unappreciated woods.

There is a definitive changing of the seasons, here in Ohio. A change that I have learned to respect and appreciate. I love Ohio.

The air, this particular afternoon, had suddenly turned from a sunshiny, lazy 60 to a brisk and shivering Ohio winter wind. In Ohio, winter occurs more quickly than any other season. One day you notice the intense and vibrant warm colors of Autumn, and the next day there are no leaves on the trees and the air takes on a certain cool clarity not present during any other season.

Terry came into the house in a hurry and went into our guest bedroom and shut the door. I was busy sending out Action Alerts on my computer for all of the cats' and dogs' lives I was attempting to spare. It is what I do every day, all day. I have come to realize that all life is inter-connected, and that with each life I am able to save, comes an eternal blessing for all of mankind. There are so many people out there, quietly doing the same thing. They serve as my inspiration.

Image - Danaus - Danaus

Danaus

Terry remained in our guest bedroom for some time. I eventually asked, "Hey, Terry, what are you doing in there?" He replied, "What do Monarch Butterflies eat?"

I continued typing as my brain attempted to assess this offbeat question.

"Why do you want to know what Monarch Butterflies eat?" I inquired.

Terry, who 12 years ago, without question, drove the speed limit at night not worrying about the rabbits, possums, skunks, deer, or cats and dogs he might affect, had somehow become changed over the years.

I had never once asked him to believe as I do. I am not loud about my beliefs as I understand that everyone is entitled to their own personal life experience. We have but one life to live here on earth... or do we?

At any rate, I felt compelled to get up from my computer chair and see what in the world he was up to now. As I walked into the guest bedroom, there, fluttering about, was a beautiful Monarch Butterfly.

He explained to me that as he was blowing leaves he noticed a Monarch Butterfly tumbling over and over again. He immediately felt the butterfly's suffering, and brought him into the house to make him more comfortable. He felt compelled to do so.

Image - Danaus in the Window - Danaus in the guest room window

Danaus in the guest room window

"What do Monarch Butterflies eat?" he repeated.

I went into the kitchen and found a brightly colored plate. Onto it I poured a concoction of boiled sugar and water, mixed as per our hummingbird feeder recipe. We had noticed, on occasion, that Monarchs drank from our hummingbird feeder.

Within a few hours we went back into our guestroom to check on our latest "guest." His/her proboscis was outstretched into the concoction that I had prepared. It was astonishing to us that this delicate, beautiful creature had found the nourishment that we had prepared for it and seemed pleased.

We are not certain what the outcome of our efforts will be, but feel in our hearts that all life is indeed "interconnected" and that somehow through caring for him/her we are eternally transforming life in a small, unrecognized way.

We have named this most recent rescue, "Danaus," as Danaus plexippus is the scientific term for this most beautiful of God's creations. The butterfly exemplifies the changing of the seasons as well as the reemergence of life after a cold, dark, yet beautiful winter.

Image - Danaus' feeding station - Danaus' feeding station

Danaus' feeding station

Danaus is doing great. I raised the temperature in the room to about 88°. I received an email from a butterfly expert who said I should soak cotton balls in a honey/water mix 1 - 10. I boiled the water first. I also offer him sugar water with a ScotchBrite Pad to stand on. It seems to help keep his legs from getting too sticky. He is happily fluttering about. I hope he makes it through the winter. What a pleasant, uplifting guest!

The butterfly expert said basically not to get our hopes up, but it's too late, they already are.

Danaus seems fine albeit a little lonely. If you know of another Monarch in need of a home, there is room for one here!

Danaus ~ Thanksgiving Day

Image - Danaus eating honey - Danaus eating honey

Danaus eating honey

Resting on Quilt made by family friend, Amanda Troyer of Fredricksburg, OH.

We were told by several butterfly experts that Danaus would probably not survive more than a few days.

For those of you who might of missed it, Danaus's original story is listed below as a point of reference.

I can not explain what and incredible surprise this little butterfly has been. He has become very "human" friendly and actually is walking towards us when we enter his room.

He is eager to sit on our fingers, and when viewed close up, one becomes immediately aware of his face, his eyes, and his ability to turn his head at various angles as if to see us better.

I somehow wish all of you could come here and experience this. Sometimes human words seem clumsy when attempting to explain very special connections like this.

His wings have become slightly damaged, and he is not able to fly as well as he was, but he manages to sun bath on the window ledge, and prefers and area close to his heat source at night.

He LOVES the food we are offering, honey balls soaked in 1 part honey to 9 parts well water.

This is pure honey that is made available from our neighbor across the road. It is unpasturized and is natural.

I noticed last night that Danaus seems stronger than ever, and also more friendly than ever.

It is astonishing (and slightly mysterious) how this beautiful monarch has made his way into our lives, and continues to flourish.

Image - Danaus eating sugar-water - Danaus eating sugar-water

Danaus eating sugar-water

He is obviously happy, and although we have never rescued a butterfly before, this experience has been extremely refreshing and will be remembered by us as one of this season's greatest blessings.

We feel somehow blessed by his stay, and he has reminded us that all life is indeed precious.

Somehow, mankind has seemingly become convinced that we are the ultimate, supreme being of this universe.

My husband and I were blessed to be able to move into the country, onto a beautiful wooded lot. Lately, I have realized how very small mankind really is in the great scheme of things.

When we go out at night, we just don't spend enough time to look up at the stars. Stop and look up at the sky (even if you can see but two stars because you live in a smog cloaked sky!)

Stars remind us that we live in an amazing and wondrous universe. That those points of light are light years away and that we are very small in this universe.

Danaus has proven true the attachment I often add at the end of each email I send which states:

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect."

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