The Butterfly Lesson

While taking a walk down a dirt road in Vermont over the weekend, I came upon a woman taking a picture of a flock of butterflies. “What are they doing?” I asked her. “They’re mourning,” she told me.

As I carefully approached the butterflies gathered on the road, I could see that she was, in fact, right. About 15 of them were clustered around one dead butterfly, which had been flattened on the road, presumably by a car. As I stood there and observed these butterflies –a symbol of rebirth— I could clearly see that a few of them were attempting to peel the dead one up off the ground. A few of them struggled to lift part of the dead butterfly’s wing before backing away, perhaps frustrated that they were not strong enough.

In thinking about my own life (and my very inexplicable and ironic fear of butterflies), I can’t help but wonder if this demonstration of mourning was nature’s very literal way of reminding me that we all must LET GO. There is no point in trying to carry what does not need to be carried. There is no point in fearing what does not need to be feared. As Robert Frost reminds us in My Butterfly, rebirth lies in recognizing beauty:

Then when I was distraught
And could not speak,
Sidelong, full on my cheek,
What should that reckless zephyr fling
But the wild touch of thy dye-dusty wing!




Published by grkeyo

educator ~ yoga teacher

One thought on “The Butterfly Lesson

  1. Hope the stricken butterfly wasn’t a chance meeting of your Dad on Curtis Hollow Rd!

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