First Snow and a Butterfly

I wake in the darkness of early morning and  linger for a bit in bed, snuggling down into the warm nest of my tangled blankets. Finally, heaving a sigh, I roll over, grab my glasses and Fitbit (got to count EVERY step!) and step onto the chilly wooden floors.  Moving out into the hallway, I turn to head toward the kitchen and coffee and stop in my tracks. The outside light had been left on overnight and this morning it illuminates the garden, which, unexpectedly, is lightly dusted with snow. Every bush and shrub, every desiccated stalk is transformed, sugar-coated and glimmering. How had I forgotten that unearthly early morning glow of new-fallen snow?


I stand by the window as the coffee pot brews and hisses. Outside snow flakes shimmer in a dazzling show, falling softly, quietly. The light glimmers off the flakes, and ignites icy sparks in the fallen snow. I could linger by the window all morning and lose myself in the wonder of it. First snow. What a gift to waken to this sight of unforecasted snow, coating everything in brilliant white serenity.

In the midst of enjoying the snowfall, I remember the butterfly. This past Saturday was a beautiful, warm day, unnatural for November. Days like this make me slightly uneasy as I can never decide if they are a gift from summer or a dark omen of climate warming. I found the butterfly firmly attached to a burlap bag near a pile of gardening materials. At first I thought it was dead, but it gripped the burlap firmly and moved one small twig-like leg when I gently touched it. Though I urged it to depart in the unseasonal warmth, it stubbornly clung to that black bag. Now I wondered and worried. Was it still there?


Before leaving for school, I head back to the stack of burlap sacks. They are now covered in a generous coating of snow. I turn the bag upside down and the snow clumps off onto the ground below with a muffled thud. No butterfly in sight, only a crumpled leaf that sets off a brief false alarm. Perhaps, I hope, perhaps it did leave during the weekend’s unseasonal warmth.

As I set the bag back on the ground, I suddenly spy the butterfly, now firmly attached to the bag’s dry underside. Surely it must be dead. I gently nudge its tiny leg and it opens and shuts its wings. Slowly. Once. Twice. The snow continues to fall. I don’t know what to do. Should I move it somewhere? But where?  I run through a few alternatives in my head, none of them inspired. Will anything I do make a difference? Ultimately, I gently set the bag back down, butterfly firmly attached and back away, hoping the day will warm up and allow the butterfly some chance for flight. I know this is highly unlikely, but I’m uncertain about whether to interfere or how to do so.

The snow continues to fall through the day, I appreciate its beauty but I wonder. Should I have done more for that butterfly?


12 thoughts on “First Snow and a Butterfly

  1. lisaorchard1 says:

    Beautifully written! Great imagery. I could really see the snow coating on your garden and feel the coldness! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. maryannreilly says:

    When I saw the title, I was intrigued. It’s interesting to me how small moments in nature yield such large philosophical questions. Your opening paragraph builds such anticipation. Lovely. I was with you every step (including the fitbit).

    I too was surprised when I looked out across the way to my neighbor’s house early Sunday morning and wondered what was all over their lawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adrienne says:

    So beautifully poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d trust the wisdom of the butterfly and let it be. Keep us updated what you find tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alice Nine says:

    A beautifully written poignant reminder of the helplessness that often accompanies changes in life as one season fades into the next. Perhaps this is why I feel a bit of angst when I celebrate the beauty of a first snowfall each winter. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful imagery. I was disappointed that you found the butterfly! You had me hoping it was nowhere in sight. Now, I too, wonder if it will have the chance to leave or succumb to its frigid surroundings.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy Warntz says:

    Such a beautiful moment that you’ve captured, the juxtaposed effects of Mother Nature. We can only hope for the best for the butterfly. Exquisite photography as always, Molly!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful moments captured in time -thank you for sharing.


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