So Long, Swingset: An Earth Day Update

So we all went to the library with a dual purpose. One was for Charlie and his good friend George to pick up trash in the wilderness areas adjacent to the library, and the other was to release Charlie's Painted Lady caterpillar (now a big grown-up butterfly) that he'd "adopted" from the kids' museum a few weeks ago.

Charlie and George's trash haul.

We chose the library to release "Swingset" the butterfly because we've seen so many butterflies there in the past; we figured it must be a hospitable place offering an array of flora that butterflies like to eat. When the moment came to release Swingset (who, coincidentally, was ready to be released on Earth Day; who knew?), I have to admit to feeling a little twinge. I hoped he'd be a happy, well-adjusted guy and eventually find a partner and make little butterflies. Oh, wait. I'm anthropomorphizing again. Let me start again... We were simply relieved that neither caterpillar nor butterfly died in our care. He flew out quickly, but then he stayed. He didn't take off right away. He let the boys get just inches away from him as he stuck his little proboscis into the flowers. Swingset really just wanted to fuel up. The boys were able to spend some time with him, and then when he was ready, we were able to track him for a while.

Swingset, the Painted Lady butterfly, resting just after his (um, her?) release.

Swingset had grown into a magnificent butterfly. Charlie and George then took up their trash bags and filled them (only about halfway though, because there wasn't as much trash as they'd thought, and Husband drew the line when it came to hubcaps).

Swingset was soon joined by a couple of Monarchs and a Tiger Swallowtail. We watched the butterflies and a hummingbird as they buzzed around. A little piece of sanctuary in the middle of our suburban sprawl.

This was a great Earth Day.

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