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Friday, June 29, 2012


Serendipity -- I've always liked that word. defines it thus:

[ser-uhn-dip-i-tee] Show IPA
1.      an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
2.      good fortune; luck: the serendipity of getting the first job she applied for.

 Wikipedia's definition is as follows:

Serendipity means a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it. The word has been voted one of the ten English words hardest to translate in June 2004 by a British translation company.[1] However, due to its sociological use, the word has been exported into many other languages.[2] Julius H. Comroe once described serendipity as : to look for a needle in a haystack and get out of it with the farmer's daughter.[3]


"An aptitude for making exciting discoveries by accident" describes me to a T.  You could also call it a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

 How else could you explain the fact that, two years ago I happened to walk around to the side of the house to turn on the water hose just in time to see a little brown bird fluttering around on the ground.  It was a fledgling Carolina wren, just left the nest and still learning to use its wings.  Dad (or mom) was sitting on the fence giving vocal encouragement.  I blogged about it here: Of Canna's, Cats and Wrens.

Or how else could you explain that I happened to hear a lot of noise outside in the garden and looked out the window just in time to see a mockingbird feeding two hungry babies.  How many other people would have just ignored the noise, or not even heard it at all?

Or when I got a headache while pulling weeds in the front flower bed a few weeks ago and sitting down, came face to face with a Monarch caterpillar I hadn't known was there, as I blogged about in We Have Caterpillars!

So this week, serendipity still seems to be following me.  Remember all those Monarch chrysalises we have hanging on the front of the house?  Well this evening, before sitting down to dinner I decided to quickly fill the bird baths.  After I was done, I went round the side of the house to turn the faucet off and as I leaned over, I saw a Monarch sitting on one of the landscape rocks around the front border.  I was slightly surprised it didn't fly away immediately, but then I realized its hind wings were still a little bit wrinkled.

It was a newly hatched Monarch!!  I have never seen such a thing and to say I was excited would be an understatement!!

I did something you're probably not supposed to do, but when it closed its wings, I gently picked it up and carried it around to the dining room window to show my husband.

I set it on the window screen, where it caught Panda's attention.

It sat on the window screen flexing its wings for a while and I hoped I hadn't damaged it by picking it up.

After a few minutes though, it had moved up the screen a bit and it's wings were looking less wrinkled.

Looking at the photos, I was able to identify this as a female (notice she doesn't have the two prominent black dots on the hindwings that the male below has).

A few minutes after I took this photo she was gone.  I caught sight of her nectaring in the front border before flying off up the street.

Who knows, she may meet up with the male Monarch in the photo below that I photographed in the front border yesterday (amusingly, I assumed *he* was a female laying eggs -- how wrong can you be?) and then the cycle of life will start again and I hope she lays some eggs on our milkweed. 

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Birdwoman said...

How exciting! And I totally agree -serendipity is always the best gift the garden has to give us.

Jayne said...

It looks like four of the chrysalises have hatched so far and I saw two new butterflies on the milkweed in the front garden, stretching their wings and getting organized before flying off. So exciting! And serendipitous that it happened on the weekend, when I'm home to witness it :-)

Carol said...

I,too love the word or the thought of Serendipity. I always thought of it as going searching for one thing and finding another that is even better, but I like the way you defined it as a happy accident. Not all accidents are happy be some can be! Hope you have a great weekend! Carol

Maia said...

Oh, this strange word again! It sounds like a serendipity, itself.

Your critter shots and especially your butterfly photos are always wonderful and that is not by accident.
Have a beautiful day ahead Jayne!