The Butterfly that Almost Wasn't Part VI

The elfin dragon nudged a sleeping Desdemona.

"What, what, what?" questioned the drowsy anole, startled.

"Listen up, Desie!" replied Elspeth, fluttering up to the branch where the chrysalis was suspended. Desdemona's trajectory followed. She jumped next to the silken cord. With eyes glued below them, they watched and listened.

The friends heard the chrysalis tear apart at its weakest points. As it split, a head and antennae appeared before tightly folded wings and abdomen. Wings hung down from the empty chrysalis, beginning to unfold with the help of gravity. Tiny folds flattened and the wings expanded for several minutes. Bella was no longer a little caterpillar. She had become the most lovely of insects - a fine Buckeye Butterfly.

Anole and elfin dragon alike were awed. Elspeth finally found her voice. "Can you hear us, Bella? What a beauty you have become!"

"I can hear you, Elspeth. I've never met Desdemona before, but I knew you were both below me for a long time. Now I have to spread my wings for awhile. They are quite soft you know. They will harden if I open them to the air."

About an hour later, Bella spoke again. "I want you to know, Elspeth, that I didn't want to come out of my safe snug cocoon. I had such pleasant dreams that I didn't want to wake. But, when I thought about you waiting patiently for me to emerge, I decided it was time for me to come out. I had missed you so much."

"Bella, you have worked very hard today. It is evening and time that you rest tonight. Tomorrow will certainly be the most special day ever!"

Before Elspeth could finish her last sentence, the butterfly's eyes closed, and she fell fast asleep. At dawn the next morning when the first rays of sunshine fell on her new wings, Bella slowly began opening and closing them for the first time. Elspeth and Desdemona felt the air stir below and opened their eyes. Bella lifted from the empty chrysalis and took flight.

The warmth of the summer sun filled her. She pirouetted in and out of the Japanese Maple leaves. Her scalloped light tawny brown wings, decorated with enormous eyespots, glowed new and vibrant. She danced about Elspeth and Desie.

"I'm ready now, Elspeth," she exclaimed. "I remember the adventure stories you whispered to me as a little caterpillar. Now, right now, I'm ready to go anywhere with you."

The anole clapped her delicate front feet together. "Yay! I've been waiting to see this 'loop de loop' spectacular. There could be no finer day!"

Elspeth fluttered upward. Once past the maple, she soared into the blue sky. Bella kept pace. The two gracefully partnered with perfect timing.

Desdemona followed them with her eyes until they disappeared from sight. She sighed. Her heart beat with happiness in her tiny green chest. "Elspeth was right," she said to the maple. "Now Bella knows that her world is wide, and she can enjoy its delectable gifts every day."  (la fin from Atlanta, Georgia, USA on Miss Martha's Patio - Earth)