Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Milkweed in the Sky

Early this morning, just before leaving for work, D. stepped in and said she had an urgent message (was it a call, an email?) about a dead butterfly.  I was still half asleep, resting up from watching the Pistons-Heat clear to the end of game four.

Dead butterfly?

It's the life of an elementary school teacher, turns out, that some days start out this way, D. rushing to intervene in a grave situation, resolve what to do with the fallen corpse, determine whether to leave it or dispose of it before the kids get to the classroom.  As one among many year-end projects D.'s got 'em looking at the life cycles of butterflies. First, a whole batch of mail-order larvae showed up; each had to be separated into its own little home--a feeding cup of sorts with dirt and larva-decor.  Then the larvae were divided among the kids (something like two or three wigglers for each of the children to allow for the ill-fated, to allow for nature).  In each cup went larva food and a label matching the insect with the student-owner.  Next, incubation.

Now, after two weeks, several of the larvae have met the group's expectations for them; well on their way to becoming butterflies, former worm-bugs have spun cocoons, hooked them onto the lids of their feeding cups.  From there, D. moved each one to a bigger space--a kind of netted drum into which the butterflies will presumably unfold and flit around.  And some die, we've learned.

I don't know yet how all of this was resolved today; D.'ll be home shortly from picking Ph. up from his lacrosse finale.  And I'm quite sure that no matter what comes of it, nearly everybody will have forgotten by tomorrow, unless, that is, all of the hatchlings flit to premature overnight deaths (over the next few days).  Butterfly death: I'm hopeful for a more encouraging series of events to wrap up the school year.  Of course, with a small dab of Mod Podge, it'd be easy enough to tack on a preservative dimension, butterfly jewelry or something. 

Bookmark and Share Posted by at June 1, 2005 5:53 PM to Under a Bushel