Beyond the Surface

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.

Writing Practice:

Write about a time when you learned something important by looking more closely.

Complete the following:  Beyond the surface lies _______________________.

10 thoughts on “Beyond the Surface

  1. This is a neat post, not just about butterflies, although that would be enough and as it quite dazzled me with your knowledge about the small creatures. I witnessed and stood in the midst of a Monarch migration one beautiful September evening in SW Kansas some years ago. A wonderful experience. About people. In my post on the WWW list serve today, I wrote about the James brothers and this lady I’ve known nearly forever, but never really knew until lately. A beautiful, interesting person, but doesn’t appear so at first glance, maybe not even at second.

  2. Chris, I always love your writtings. You have a beautiful way with words. Thank you too for sharing your knowledge about the monarch. You are so right in how we tend to judge people by what they look like at first glance. Then we take the time to get to know them and many times find the person is much more beautiful inside.

    • Thank you for reading, Sue! You are a good role model because I’ve always felt you see inside people and recognize their inner beauty. You’re such a positive person, and I find that inspiring.

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