Small Family in Six Suitcases

Hi. How are you? We're a family of three who moved to New Zealand from Seattle in July '05. We sold or gave away pretty much everything except what we could carry onto the 'plane. We thought we'd write a bit about it. We'll love it if you can join us for a few moments.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Monarch


This Monarch butterfly hatched in the cottage yesterday. Our neighbor had cut down a tree that was interrupting 'phone service, and he found the chrysalis and gave it to Vera and Winston a few days ago. Vera put it on the sofa on a greeny branch and -- here's a thing -- I didn't even know why the branch was there until I shouted to her just moments ago to find out where she and Winston had stored the chrysalis, so I could write this. With all the lifting and plonking-down of Winston that we have done recently, I'm just delighted that it stayed in one piece. I had known, nebulously as it were, that we were hosting the little chap-to-be somewhere here at Six Suitcase Towers, and I think I vaguely imagined that taking in a chrysalis somehow entailed Vera standing on a chair and hanging it up like a set of wind chimes.

Anyway Vera noticed the butterfly had emerged when she got up yesterday, but couldn't find it an hour later. When she got home from work at 5pm she found it in the laundry room, poised aeronautically on one of Winston's nylon sleeper suits.

It stuck around here for about a day. We all thought the little chap was doing the old 747-wing-test bit yesterday afternoon, ensuring all cabin doors and food trays were secured for takeoff, so we gently lifted the sleeper suit and carried it outside and onto the still-warm hood of our van so his feet would be warm for the virgin flight.

I have to say that the three of us then gave him a bit of well-meaning but unnecessary peer pressure. We hoisted Winston onto the hood and generally stood around with beer cans saying "Go on, my son! Off you pop! Gertcha!" and other comments of a like nature. Monarch, in turn, turned his head, his eye rolling from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven, with one little leg curled off the sleeper suit. Surely he was getting ready for the off. His set jaw put me in mind of Orville and Wilbur Wright.

But no. So a few hours later, when it got cold, we brought him back in for the night.

This morning Winston and I put him out on the front step, and he hung around just long enough for me to take the above photo. W. had just gone to get some of his toy emergency vehicles to show the butterfly when he suddenly flew off (the butterfly, of course, not my son). Winston saw it but I didn't as I was fetching one of the toys.

All the best, little chap! You were a model house guest and as you wing through life let it always cheer you that, whatever else may happen, you're not likely to get slung into jail for not being symmetrical enough.

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