The Beautiful Monarch Butterfly

Monarch2

It’s hard to paint a child with a butterfly and not have it look to cliche or schmalzy, but I couldn’t help myself.  When I was a child, I remember watching the Monarch migration float past the classroom window, hundreds of butterflies on their way to Mexico.  Our dear Aunt Helen taught us to recognize the eggs on the underside of the milkweed leaf and every year we would have a vase of the plant with the caterpillars on the table so we could watch them grow, and eventually split open and wriggle themselves up into the chrysalis. By the next morning the chrysalis was hardened and little gold and black nubs had formed.  A week later the butterfly would emerge and hang its wet wings until they had dried.  My children, too, grew up with the milkweed plants and caterpillars on the table.  This painting is of my daughter with a newly hatched butterfly as it dries its wings.  The monarch populations have dropped significantly since then.  This past summer I found no eggs.  There is much speculation as to the cause of the decline.  I hope that someday, if I am blessed with grandchildren,  that I can share this miracle with them.