{ saskatoon forestry farm butterfly garden }

The Butterfly Garden at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo is an often overlooked destination for my family.

It seems that by the time we are finished visiting all the animals at the zoo or after a full afternoon of play at the awesome Forestry Farm Playground, we are ready to go home without stopping in. However, when we do stop in, we are always glad we did.

There are not always a ton of butterflies, so it sometimes feels like a bit of a game of hide and seek among the beautiful flowers. {The hunt for butterflies is something my kids actually like.}

Right now there is a board of several chrysalises propped in a corner, so I assume that within the next 10 days or so there will be several more butterflies emerging.  We might have to make it back over to see them before the building is shut down at the end of the season. {I could not find exact dates for this, but I believe it generally happens around the last week of September.}

I enjoyed teaching my daughter about the life cycle of butterflies during our recent visit. There's a handy graphic on display that helped us both to visualize the whole 30-day metamorphosis of the Monarch.

}'|'{

Butterflies are very special to me and my family for many reasons. A butterfly's metamorphosis is the metaphor I used to explain to my son {who was my daughter's age at the time} that his sister Ava Faith had passed away.

We had just been reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle the week before, so it was fresh on both of our minds. I remember placing my hand on his little chest and telling him that while our baby's heart was no longer beating and her lungs never took in breath, that her spirit was very much alive. I said her spirit left her body behind like a chrysalis and it rose up like a beautiful butterfly to be with God in heaven.

Over the four years that have passed my son and I have had many conversations about Ava and our own life cycles. As he matures, so do our conversations. But, I am amazed that he still remembers that initial conversation about butterflies from when he was 2-and-a-half.

He always points out butterflies to me and says, "Ava, Mom." {Oh, my heart.}

Having the Butterfly Garden all to ourselves on this afternoon -- just my beautiful rainbow girl and me -- felt like such a gift. I appreciated the opportunity to talk to her about life cycles and how sometimes, something can look like the end, but it could be just the beginning of something wonderful.



"The butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough." ~ Rabindranath Tagore
"Without change there would be no butterflies."
~ author unknown





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