When I was walking in my neighborhood two weeks ago, I saw this tree stump and wondered why it had been decorated it this way.  After pondering it for some time, the story I made up was that the homeowners didn’t want the tree there and didn’t want to take out the stump.  I suspected these materials were placed in this way to keep people from tripping over it.

20141002_093105I felt sad that what I imagined to be a perfectly healthy tree had been destroyed.  When I looked at the stump, I was reminded of a morning walk I took quite a few years ago.  That morning as I walked past a different neighbor’s house, one who no longer lives there, this is what I saw:

These people had once poured concrete over their entire front yard.  Now they had cut down three gorgeous trees, and bored holes in the trunks rather than take out the stumps.  What I felt at that time was more like despair than sadness.  The stumps are still there and serve as a constant reminder to me of ways we disrespect the earth.

Whenever I find myself in judgment, like I am now, I believe it is important for me to look at how I have done the same thing as what I am judging in others.  I didn’t have to think hard about that one.  It is something that has been on my mind a lot lately.

When I was a child in the 1950’s, I had a butterfly collection.  I would catch the butterflies, and very carefully kill them using some kind of drops.  Then I would mount them on a board.  My display was so beautiful.


I know that was a different era and most people would never have thought twice about making the display back then.  I also realize my butterfly collection showed that even as a child I had a appreciation of the beauty of nature.  But it is still hard to accept the reality that I once killed creatures who were so glorious.

It is even more uncomfortable for me to think about it now because butterflies are disappearing from the earth at an alarming rate.  It has been many years since I’ve seen a Monarch butterfly and I haven’t seen a butterfly of any kind this year.  But that is a subject for a future post.

Photo credit: Wikimedia(The butterfly and sad face photos are courtesy of Wikimedia.)

9 thoughts on “Why?

  1. A very humbling post,Karuna. I was startled when I read the butterfly thing but not out of judgement …I did not do that but I do remember stepping on ants “on purpose”…and later feeling guilty for grabbing a spider in a tissue to put outside and it had not survived. What you sharing is what most don’t think twice about. If I believe half of the scary things I was taught in Catholic school, I sure will be looking at that big book on the minus side and dread that time…maybe GrandMmaman will put in a good word for me.


    1. I remember as a child stepping on ants and bugs, and even as an adult in the 70’s it was “normal” to kill flies and spray poison on spiders. None of them are pleasant memories but it was the way it used to be. I’m so glad that is not part of my life anymore, and hasn’t been for a long time. Maybe your GrandMmaman will put in a good word for me too!


  2. This brought back memories of “lightning bugs.” On warm summer night neighborhood kids would gather to catch “lighting bugs,” disengage the “bugs light” and affix to our ears for earrings or fingers for rings. I hadn’t thought about this in years.


    1. I remember catching lightning bugs as a kid….. when we visited relatives, probably in Florida. But I haven’t heard of doing things like this with them. It is very similar to the kid behaviors I was sharing. Thank you for sharing this information.


  3. My dad used to collect them too, back in the 60’s and 70’s. Pinned to cork strips glued into empty box file cases.
    I could never quite understand the killing part though. I always had a similar discomfort when we went fishing too. Different, but the harming of something in the pursuit of some other aim.
    I did used to marvel at the massive elephant hawk moths he caught. And it taught us loads about nature as we grew up.


      1. I preferred to watch fishing after a while. The oeace and tranquility was wonderful. The fishing a hook out of a fishy mouth and putting it back in injured didn’t please me. Fishing to eat is something else.


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