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Butterflies—Good for the Heart & Good for the Soul

Common Buckeye

Butterflies are good for the heart and soul. Harriet Beecher Stowe once said, “The human heart yearns for the beautiful.” One reason people search for the good and the beautiful in life is because sorrow and pain are so evident. We want to be lifted out of our present circumstances, even if just for a little while, by experiencing the soothing and lovely.

Butterflies are not only attractive, they are also inspirational. Despite their apparent weakness, they are able to survive the elements, predation, and loss of food plants and habitat. Many migrate hundreds or thousands of miles over mountains, rivers, and the open ocean in order to reach their destinations.

Another reason butterflies appeal to people is because they are accessible and approachable—we can experience them. From those experiences comes the desire to share. As editor of Butterfly Gardener, I was surprised at the number of people from all over the U.S. who freely submitted their butterfly photographs along with original stories, poems, and artwork for publication.

Many people also find the butterfly life cycle to be fascinating. To watch a female lay an egg which hatches into a tiny caterpillar which grows into a large caterpillar which changes into a chrysalis that eventually becomes an adult butterfly is to witness a miraculous process.

Gardeners enjoy trying their hands at providing homes for butterflies with flowers, shrubs, and trees. Butterflies flying around add grace and movement to a garden. Planting flowers for the adult butterflies to nectar upon is rewarding, and the search for proper hostplants for caterpillars to feed on is both interesting and educational.

With noise and distractions both inside our homes and out, the silent flight of a colorful butterfly can restore peace and encourage the ability to think.  Adlai Stevenson, former ambassador to the United Nations, once said, “In quiet places reason abounds…” Make time for the quiet places with the butterflies in your life and let your thoughts dwell on the good, the beautiful, and the inspirational.

©Rita Venable 2012

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