Today a male monarch butterfly flew down to my patio and made the slow journey to death. It lay upon the patio flooring and was soon joined by a female monarch who laid her wing upon her friend. I was awed by this action wondering what silent communication might exist between these beautiful winged creatures that I take so much granted. Realizing her friend died, the Monarch moved back and stood wings up for several minutes as if in quiet reverence of a soul’s passing. I left the two alone. I would return later and find the female had left. I felt sad as I picked up the dead butterfly and placed it in the garden where it once floated freely.
The Hopi Indians believe that butterflies are the souls of guardian children and that if a butterfly dies in your presence that soul will protect you. For me, the words bring great comfort, but I know there is more to this loss. In time I will see the flight of the Monarch’s children, and I will find in their flight the deeper lesson — that for all the losses that occur in nature, there is always rebirth.