Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Reprise: A Butterfly Birthday

on June 8, 2022
(Monarch butterfly)

[Note: I turned this into a children’s story, but this actually happened to me one summer when I was small. It’s an experience I never forgot.]


Amy leaned over and smelled the sweet, honey-like fragrance of the tiny white flowers on a leafy green bush. It was spring — her most favorite time of year — and the big backyard was alive with blooming flowers, buzzing bees, and orange-and-black butterflies playing among the wild dandelions growing in the grass.

The butterflies were called monarchs, and Amy looked forward to their arrival every spring.

As she peered deeper into the bush, Amy spied a small green object hanging from a slender brown twig. She reached into the bush and broke off the little twig. She held the object gently in her hand, admiring the delicate green color. Near the top was a hard ridge tinted with yellow that seemed to sparkle like gold in the warm spring sunlight.

Amy had found a butterfly chrysalis. Some people call them cocoons. They are also called pupas.

Amy had learned a lot about butterflies from her teacher at school. She knew that female butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of plant leaves. After a few days small caterpillars, called larvae, eat their way out of the eggs. They finish eating the eggshells — their very first meal! After that, they attach themselves to a leaf and eat and eat and eat until they become too big for their skin. They shed their old skin, a process called molting, and then gobble it up to get important nutrients. Mmm — delicious!

Caterpillars continue to eat and grow and shed their skin until they have done this four times. Now, they are about 2 inches long. But they still have a long way to go before they turn into beautiful butterflies.

The caterpillars take long walks in search of the perfect place to rest. When they find it, they weave a sticky, silky attachment called a silk button. This allows the caterpillars to hang upside down and begin a process called metamorphosis.

For the last time, the caterpillars shed their skin and emerge as a small, oval object called a pupa, chrysalis, or cocoon. This is the third stage in the butterfly life cycle.

Amy realized what a precious treasure she held in her hand. She gathered a handful of grass and leaves and covered the bottom of a large glass jar. She carefully laid the little green cocoon to rest in the soft little nest. Then she punched air holes in the lid with a nail and screwed it on top of the jar.

She placed the jar on a table next to her bed, where the warm spring sunshine would shine through the bedroom window and warm the little green cocoon.

Every day, she looked at the little cocoon in the jar, and waited. Amy knew that the caterpillar’s body inside the chrysalis would dissolve into a liquid and the cells of the adult butterfly begin to grow. The little cocoon became more and more transparent as the immature cells developed into a full-fledged butterfly. Pretty soon, she could see the orange-and-black wings of an adult monarch inside the chrysalis.

One morning, Amy woke up and glanced at the big glass jar next to her bed. But something was different. The little cocoon was broken and empty. Sitting next to it was a brand new orange-and-black butterfly with white markings on its wings. It was the most beautiful monarch butterfly she had ever seen.

The butterfly sat on a dry leaf, slowly moving its wings up and down. Amy watched in fascination, amazed by the miracle of nature she had witnessed in the big glass jar.

But the glass jar was no place to keep such a delicate and fragile creature. She took the jar outside, unscrewed the lid, and watched the beautiful butterfly flutter away.

Dawn Pisturino

June 8, 2022

Copyright 2008-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


17 responses to “Reprise: A Butterfly Birthday

  1. utahan15 says:

    how can one say to self fly away cos yesterday is tomorrow around ya bend. and she will not change nor rearrange fa ya.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. cigarman501 says:

    Wonderful post, wonderful lesson

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jaya Avendel says:

    How perfect a story this is for summer, and I love the reflective moments of transformation as symbolized by the butterfly. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dawn, I love how you repurposed your title and what a sweet and endearing story. I love the way she connected the experience of loving such a delicate creature, watching how it evolved from where it was to what it became. πŸ¦‹πŸ’–πŸ¦‹ Some adults can take a few cues from Amy. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ€—πŸŒΊπŸ˜πŸŒŸ

    Liked by 2 people

  5. aparna12 says:

    Wow. It’s such a beautiful, heart touching story. You are amazing, dear Dawn. Love reading your blogs. β™₯️β™₯️β™₯️🌹🌹🌹😊😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sharonstjoan says:

    Very beautiful story!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Harshi says:

    What a beautiful, benign story narrated with such warmth, simplicity and love!

    The metamorphosis of you story, Dawn is as spectacular as the Monarch butterfly!

    Liked by 1 person

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