person to person — impact: Common, yes, but a treasure still

COMMON BUCKEYE BUTTERFLY
COMMON BUCKEYE BUTTERFLY

It’s amazing how by happenstance you can be taught a lesson! Barb was walking on the sidewalk from our driveway to our front porch. She thought she saw a leaf on the sidewalk and was about to crunch it as she walked, when she focused more closely on the object. It turned out to be the butterfly she caught on her smartphone, above.

Now, I must tell you, I’m not a deep thinker, unlike some people I know who would stop for an hour and try to psychoanalyze a butterfly, only occasionally have I stopped to view a butterfly, noticed it was beautiful and carried on. This time was different. In looking at the butterfly on the sidewalk and studying it in the photo, a few thoughts came to mind. I’ve never tried to identify a butterfly by name. Almost by accident, I found the name of this butterfly on the Web:

http://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Common-Buckeye-Butterfly.

Not remembering seeing a Common Buckeye Butterfly before, I thought possibly Barb found a real, rare treasure. As you can tell by its first name (Common), I readily ascertained it was not rare! It can be found in 41 of the United States as well as other countries. In Florida alone it has been found in all 67 counties (what a disappointment). However, to me, it can still be classified as a treasure. Its many colors, along with the symmetry of its colors make it very beautiful.

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The multicolored spots on its wings, called eye spots, results in the reference of Buckeye (an orange and brown New World butterfly with conspicuous eyespots on its wings). And I thought the only definition of a Buckeye was a native of the state of Ohio!

I don’t know this as a fact because I’m not a butterfly expert, but after viewing the colors on about 175 butterflies on the Internet, all of them appear to be symmetrical. This seems extraordinary to me when you consider there are “innumerable” (I use this word because each source I check provided a different number of species). Wow, God must have been busy creating all of them, not to mention us! However, He is extraordinary on many accounts. Jesus said: “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Luke 12:7).

For a short time, I thought it would be fun to be a butterfly, with all of its beauty. But, then I read that a butterfly is always awake because it has no eyelids; I thought it might be prudent to take a second thought since I would miss my afternoon nap. In reading another writer, he disagreed with the first writer. Since I’m not sure which is right, I think I had better be thankful how God made me.

The next question I had was: Why do butterflies exist? What is their purpose? A few answers found in my research were: butterflies are indicators of our ecosystems. Because they are fragile, they are quick to react to change. Their struggle to exist is a serious warning about our environment (http://butterfly-conservation.org/45/why-butterflies-matter.html. Second, butterflies help pollinate flowers. Next, butterflies provide food for frogs, spiders, birds, snakes, monkeys, etc. http://www.thebutterflysite.com/what-eats-butterflies.shtml. Obviously, butterflies provide much beauty for us when we take the time to observe them.

Finally, butterflies can be a hobby for people. They can collect them and attach them to a display board. This is not for me, I would rather continue to enjoy the beauty of a live butterfly as well as let other people do so. A nicer way to enjoy them would be to become proficient in taking photographs of them. Probably the best way to enjoy them, as far as I’m concerned, is to plant a garden of flowers that attract certain kinds of butterflies. There are companies that will help you with this (http://www.butterflyfunfacts.com/butterfly-garden-design.php). After completing a questionnaire provided by the company, they will send you a layout of your future butterfly garden, a shopping list of butterfly host plants, etc.

Just think, all this insight into some of the history and beauty of butterflies just because Barb was agile enough to not step on that Common Buckeye Butterfly! Thanks Barb.

Butterflies are self-propelled flowers! The earth laughs in flowers.

Jeff Hall, of Honey Brook, contributes columns to Berks-Mont Newspapers. Questions/commentsmay be directed to jeffreyhall77@comcast.net