Back to Nature (Published on - Aug. 9, 2006)
A butterfly wish – Native American Indian legend
Photo by Rick Tremmel
The Gulf Fritillary, commonly seen red-orange butterfly around Florida. A few black spots on wings and a cluster of white spots near the top (costa) of the fore wing.
Great Spirit looked down upon his two legged children. They were warmed by the gift of fire and at this fire they could also cook their meals.

Turtle Island (North America) was patterned with snow-topped mountains, rolling green and amber plains, lakes, and crisscrossed with rivers. Great Spirit painted the meadows with multicolored flowers and medicinal herbs and filled the skies with the songs and warnings of the winged. Turtle Island provided much food and materials for shelter for all living beings upon the Mother Earth.

But Great Spirit felt something was still missing. Something had been overlooked. After thinking on this, Great Spirit decided to offer the gift of beauty and freedom, so created the butterfly.

Great Spirit gathered the most beautiful of colors and took the black from the maiden’s hair, yellow from the warm summer sun and blues from the lake and sky to create the butterfly. This butterfly would flutter to be a reminder for all two leggeds that if one lives a life seeking beauty and honoring freedom for all living things, even the smallest of things, harmony and balance would naturally follow.

The butterfly also became a messenger to Great Spirit. If someone desires a wish to come true, they must first gently capture the butterfly and whisper that wish to it, then set the butterfly free.

Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly cannot reveal this wish to anyone, but will take the wish to Great Spirit who hears and sees all. In gratitude for returning the beautiful butterfly’s freedom, the Great Spirit grants the wish.

This week’s Back to Nature column is the last in a series of three columns on butterflies. I hope our readers are inspired to further their knowledge about butterflies learning more about these smallest of beautiful creatures. There are several guide books to assist you in your quest for knowledge:

• Butterflies through Binoculars: The East A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Eastern North America by Jeffrey Glassberg.

• A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies by Paul A. Opler, Vichai Malikul, and Roger Tory Peterson.

• National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Butterflies Of North America by National Audubon Society.

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