Spring has come to the lowcountry. The ospreys arrived on time--right around Valentine's Day--and the lovebirds are busy with their nest. The purple martins are back, thrilling us with their aerial dances. Everywhere I see the small, eager leaves sprouting in the earth, heralding the color to come. It is a time of year my heart quickens in anticipation.
This spring I am especially excited to introduce my new novel, THE BUTTERFLY'S DAUGHTER. The research for this book took me on an amazing journey. I chased the monarchs all the way to their winter sanctuaries high in the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico. There I saw millions and millions of these fragile creatures cascade into a brilliant blue sky like orange confetti. It was a miraculous, even spiritual, experience. I had to bring my readers to that moment.
As I began writing, I also began raising monarch butterflies. I gathered the eggs monarchs laid on the milkweed host plants, brought them indoors to my screened porch and created a habitat from aquariums with screened tops. Days later the eyelash sized caterpillars hatched. I fed them fresh milkweed leaves from my garden and watched as over the course of weeks they ate and ate (and pooped), growing 2000 times their hatch size. When ready, the caterpillar stops eating and climbs to the top secreening where he spins a silk knot and forms the gorgeous jade green chrysalis. Now begins the miracle of metamorphosis. About two weeks later, the butterfly emerges! I released dozens and dozens of monarchs to my garden.
Everyone thinks the butterfly is beautiful, and it certainly is. But after watching the process unfold from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, I believe the true beauty is witnessing the transformation that occurs in the chrysalis. The caterpillar had to separate himself from the others, let go to hang freely, then enter the darkness. The caterpillar completely transforms! In human terms, we think of words like courage and faith. It is no wonder that so many faiths and cultures around the world use the butterfly as a symbol of rebirth.
So, in this season of rebirth and our national celebration of mothers and daughters, I hope you will enjoy my novel--The Butterfly's Daughter. Happy Spring!