Something unexpected happens when these two seemingly very similar butterflies, shown above sharing a coneflower in my Texas hill country garden, open their wings.
When it unfolds, the one on the left in the photo above reveals through its stained-glass pattern that it is a monarch:
The one pictured on the right in the photo at top is shown by its white spots to be a queen:
And both, if you look carefully, can be identified as males by the scent spots located on their hind wings, one on each side of the lower abdomen.
It’s become a habit for me to look more closely at the insects and other small creatures near my house, but it’s harder for me to remember to look beyond the surface of people as well.
But that has its own rewards.
Upon closer examination, an odd-appearing man in his twenties turns out to be kind and happy, the learning-impaired grandson of an especially warm-hearted woman.
I find that a lady nearing seventy, wearing, in my judgment, unbecoming skimpy clothing, too much jewelry, and too much makeup, is lonely and newly widowed.
And I vow, yet again, to pay more heed to the words of T. H. Thompson and John Watson, who are the supposed authors of this advice:
Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Write about a time when you learned something important by looking more closely.
Complete the following: Beyond the surface lies _______________________.