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The Butterfly Complex

Mark E. Vigil: As the leaves in the trees began to fall and the warmth of his kind vanished, only then did the reality of his choice to stay begin to set in.
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Imagine a butterfly that stubbornly refused to fly south for the winter. This stubborn creature thought, Why fly somewhere else when I can stay in a place more familiar to me? After all, the journey south would require work and no doubt would be filled with countless dangers. Why bother?

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The butterfly watched in smug silence as all the rest of his butterfly colony prepared for their long journey to the new world.

Ignoring the warnings to get ready, the little butterfly flapped its wings and defied the advice of his elders. Instead, he criticized the others for being stuck on ancient customs that seemed foolish and had no meaning in his life.

The more they urged him to prepare, the more stubborn he became. He had never been to the mountains of Chapultepec in Mexico, but he was sure the Canadian winter would not be so bad. He could deal with it.

The skies were clear overhead, the wind still warm. They are fools, he thought. Why leave when I could stay and have fun?

When the last of the butterfly colony had flown away, the trees surrounding the woods where he grew up began to grow cold and dark.

As the leaves in the trees began to fall and the warmth of his kind vanished, only then did the reality of his choice to stay begin to set in.

He noticed the sound of the wind become stronger. He also observed how the remaining creatures became less friendly than before.

As the leaves in the trees began to fall and the warmth of his kind vanished, only then did the reality of his choice to stay begin to set in. How could he have been so wrong in thinking he could defy years of butterfly migrations?

With each day that passed, his resolve diminished. His once-defiant spirit was dashed by the harsh realities of his choice not to fly south. With little strength left to fly, he began to ponder what his life might have been like had he just listened to those who understood the consequences of staying behind in such a harsh place for the winter.

It was then that he realized the fatal error in his thinking. After all, he was a butterfly—colorful and bright—meant to soar through the skies as if floating on the wind. This miraculous gift from Nature was made possible only if the butterfly cycle were complete. Yet, because he broke from it, he altered the pattern of life, affecting all those others who had depended on him to do his part in upholding the integrity of the butterfly cycle.

When the little butterfly fell to earth, his body was cold and weary. He thought of all the things he had never done and all the beautiful places he would never see. He flapped his wings for the last time—wings that would never reach their full potential. But just before the little butterfly was about to gasp his last breath, a small sparrow who had been watching from a distance swooped down and carried him to safety, to the safe comfort of his kind.

In this manner, balance was restored and the potential for the colony could once again be realized.

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Mark E. Vigil