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Our neighbor asked us to watch a chrysalis that they believed would be hatching while they were gone for the weekend. It was in a Ball canning jar with a paper towel as a lid. A small translucent cocoon hung from the paper.

I was asked by text message and I agreed. The text message then instructed me to  place it on a flower when it hatched. I said I would. What wasn’t clear was whether the flower was in the garden or from the garden and placed in the jar.

The next morning the wings of the monarch were visible below the rim of the jar. It hung motionless from the lid like a technicolor bat, the discarded cocoon still dangling like a tossed condom. There was a clear fluid pooling on the bottom, most likely released from the cocoon when the butterfly emerged.

I cut a flower from the garden for the butterfly to perch on. I seated it in the bottom of the jar and the colorful creature changed perches to the purple petal. One wing dipped in the fluid at the floor of the jar.

A half hour later I checked the butterfly. The wing was still dipped in the fluid. I decided that it needed to be outside. I placed it on a flower in the garden. It reluctantly left my digit for the daisy. The wing that had been in the fluid remained curled even after a couple hours. It flew like a poorly made paper airplane.

I felt accountable for the disfigurement, and there was no taking it back. Ignorance wouldn’t let me off the hook. I trust the butterfly got a little flying time in its short time on this earth.

I felt bad for the bug, but then realized that on some Summer days  I had removed more butterflies from this life than I cared to count, their vivid and colorful blood leaving trails over my windshield and front bumper. It helps to see it as their fault for being in the way of my front end.

It’s tough when you try to do what you believe is the correct thing and it gets  screwed up. I guess that’s life. Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don’t. And just maybe sometimes I can let myself off the hook a little, accepting that I tried my best to do what I  thought was right no matter how it turned out.


This summer has been the season of rediscovering an old love. I purchased a bicycle that doesn’t punish me for riding it and the two of us have been exploring a small part of my world.  This means I have been traversing though forest and metro, soybean and corn. I have felt the wonder of wind in the face. As well as the sting of incognizant insects.

Close to where we live is a Caribou Coffee store. It is surprising how many paths I follow lead to its doorstep. My order at the counter has been pretty consistent. Because my presence has had a small impact on their business, rarely these days do I have to actually place my order. I simply nod my agreement to an employee shouting out “Small cappuccino!” as I step through the door.

Today as I opened the door to Caribou the Barista looked at me and said she saw me out riding my bike the other day. She pointed at me and told her husband “Hey, there goes the Small Cappuccino Guy!”

In an age of image over substance it is nice to be noticed, but knowing what I drink doesn’t say much about who I am, but I guess it is a start.