ABSTRACT

Ten year-old Raj1 carefully holds on to a slice of an orange while preparing to release the Lady Slipper butterfly that he has nurtured. He and his classmates from a special needs class in Montreal are gathered in the Peace Garden at Dawson College2 in readiness for their butterfly release. Each elementary student was asked to write a note to ‘his or her’ butterfly. Raj poignantly wrote: “I hope you make it across de Maisonneuve” (the road adjacent to Dawson College). His heartfelt words kindle some tears in the eyes of the adults who are observing the event. Someone asks Raj why he has an orange slice. He replies, “in case my butterfly is hungry before he flies.” His sentiment might seem sweetly naïve but in the next few moments Raj’s compassion proves well founded. ‘His’ Lady Slipper sets out on her first journey, flies in a complete circle and alights on the orange. Her proboscis comes out and she does indeed have a pre-flight meal!