This morning, my daughter and I got to watch a butterfly crawl from its cocoon, dry its wings, and prepare for flight. It was one of those things in life that is NOT overrated. It was the first time either of us had seen it happen, and it truly felt like witnessing a tiny miracle.
However, it happened at an inopportune time. I had already finished my breakfast and was urging her to finish hers so she could brush her teeth and hair, put her socks and shoes on, and finally get out the door for school. Then she noticed the black form crawling around the enclosure. All forward motion came to a halt. I’m embarrassed to say that my first thought was to keep things rolling so that we weren’t late to school, but then I got pulled into the drama of watching wings dry.
We stuck around long enough to see them fully extended. We moved the brand-new butterfly into our front yard, onto the large fennel plant like the one we’d plucked it off of as a caterpillar. We watched it find a good spot, open and close its wings several times, and settle in peacefully to finish the drying process. After I got my daughter buckled into her carseat, which is usually the part of the morning that I breathe a sigh of relief — we’re finally on our way! — I noticed a dragonfly on the outside wall of our house. It was green and red, and the biggest one I’d ever seen. I went around the car, unbuckled her, and got her out of the car to show it to her.
Watching the wonder on her face as she examined its colors and put her hand out to see it if was, indeed, bigger than her outstretched fingers was totally worth being even later to school. Thanks, spring, for giving us a chance to pause in our morning bustle and see the wonders around us.
In honor of our butterfly, I’m sharing a recipe that tastes like springtime — fresh herbs and vegetables. Your kids will love the novelty of a cold soup on a hot evening.
5 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup lukewarm chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup half-and-half
Salt to taste
3-4 teaspoons of sugar (taste as you add it)
Using a blender, put in half of all ingredients except salt and sugar. When well blended, remove to a large bowl and blend other half. If your blender’s large enough, you can put it all back in and start adding salt and sugar, tasting after each addition. If not, put it all in the bowl and use a whisk to combine the seasonings. Put in fridge and chill for at least two hours. Whisk again before serving. You can top this with anything from sour cream to bacon to chopped cantaloupe. (Adapted from the book “Get-Togethers with Gooseberry Patch”.)
Written by: Shannon Oelrich