Butterflies, Dragonflies, Ecospirituality, Haiku, Hummingbirds, Nature’s Symbolism

Spring’s Wings

One of my favorite things about spring is the emergence of fanciful winged creatures—the enchanting dragonfly who metamorphosed after spending two years underwater as a nymph, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail who cocooned on the Magnolia and flutters about the treetops searching for nectar-filled flora, the Ruby Throated Hummingbird whose delicate wings traversed the non-stop flight over the Gulf of Mexico, the myriad of moths that feast on wildflowers, the solitary bee who emerged out of its winter burrow, and the Hummingbird Moth who pupated during winter underneath the leaf litter.

These wonders of nature inspire delight and awe in me. They are also rich with paradoxes: strength in smallness as the hummingbird’s tiny wings fly long distances and hover over a flower beating at 53 times per second. The delicate yet nimble dragonfly—its paper-like wings enabling it to fly upside down and backwards.

I am grateful for the gifts these creatures offer to our ecology. All except the dragonfly are vital pollinators. And dragonflies are equally important as they can eat hundreds of mosquitoes each day.

As we observe the beauty and marvels of these aviators, we can embrace the soulful gifts of inspiration and wisdom for our own journeys. For me they symbolize transformation, hope, spirit, and strength. Most importantly, they remind me to flutter, dance, and hum.

Do you identify with a winged creature? What does it symbolize for you?

You may want to explore its gifts and symbolism through a sketch, collage, or poetic form such as the Haiku (see below). Or simply savor the magical moment when you encounter one.

We can explore the season’s winged creatures through poetry such as the Haiku. This Japanese poem is only three lines with a specific number of syllables for each line (5-7-5, respectively). It also doesn’t rhyme or have a title. I am particularly drawn to the Haiku as its themes are traditionally rooted in nature and the seasons. In fact, the poem usually includes a word (a kigo) that reflects the season. I find that the boundaries of the Haiku offer spaciousness in my expression. And there is poignancy in the brevity.

A Haiku captures a moment much like a snapshot photo. In phrases and fragments we describe what we see. We offer our attention to the natural world and notice what calls out to us. Taking in that moment with our senses, we invite it to inspire our words. In the art of Haiku we express and honor what unfolds before us. 

still for a moment
lacey wings iridescent
dart, dragonfly, grace

There many ways to support and nurture our winged friends:

Hummingbirds: Consider planting native flora that attract hummingbirds or offering hummingbird food in a feeder. Learn more.

Moths: Most moths are nocturnal, so considering reducing the use of exterior lights at night. Learn more.

Butterflies: Plant pollinator-friendly plants and offer water sources in shallow dishes. Learn how to help the endangered Monarch Butterfly.

Dragonflies: Avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides on lawns, which flow into watersheds that dragonfly nymphs inhabit for 1-2 years. Learn more about a dragonfly’s lifecycle.

Nature & Me

Love Sows Sorrow ~ Grief for the Natural World

I kept going back and forth in my mind about publishing this post. I didn’t envision Soulful Seasons being about sad, hard things. My hope is to be life giving and generally uplifting. But this topic persists in my heart. It wants a voice, so I greatly appreciate you as listener.

Being attuned to the natural world brings me great joy and enriches my life in so many ways. The shadow side of this is a deepening sense of sorrow and grief as I bear witness to suffering in nature—both from natural and unnatural causes.

I often experience a heavy heart as I observe loss in nature. I understand all living things have a lifecycle. There are food webs with predator and prey. There is natural death at the end of an organism’s life.

My grief is heaviest when the natural world experiences loss due to human causes. In my suburban environment, I witness this on nearly a daily basis. The wildflowers getting mowed down on the side of the highway. The turtle that was crushed by a car. The loss of habitat for wildlife that has been clear cut for a new car dealership. The black tar residue in our neighborhood creek from the storm water runoff after our road was recently repaved.

Beyond my community, there is even more suffering. The death of millions of migratory birds as they travel north in the spring and south in autumn — disoriented by light pollution and tall buildings.

The litany of loss is unending.

If you are a sensitive soul or are especially attached to nature, you may have these feelings quite often as I do.

How do we manage our grief on a regular basis? How do we respond?

Compassion & Comfort

When I’m out with my son and we see a part of nature being hurt, we talk about it. We ask questions. We express how we feel. We hug each other. We often have a moment of silence to fully experience our thoughts and feelings. We offer ourselves and each other compassion and comfort.

Nature’s Resilience

I remind myself of nature’s resilience. I take note of the new shoot growing from a stump. Or the emergence of hatchling birds and turtles and baby bunnies in the spring. Or the dandelion springing forth from a crack in the driveway or the ground of dry clay.


I don’t consider myself the activist type, but as a creative soul I can creatively respond…through writing poetry or these blog posts. By honoring a part of nature through a watercolor or collage. By taking a photo in appreciation of something I notice.


There are very practical ways that I can nurture nature in my little neck of the woods. These acts of stewardship help to mitigate my grief and hopefully help nature. Our family enjoys providing bird baths and birdhouses for the song birds in the area. We also try to restore habitat in our community by planting native and pollinator friendly flora.

Blessings & Gratitude

I can say a blessing for or offer my gratitude to the creatures that share their habitat with me. Maybe I should offer gratitude for my grief, which engenders humility, wisdom, and action.

Although we share a collective grief for loss in the natural world, each person’s response will be as unique as the individual.

What comforts you when you grieve for nature?

What response feels authentic for you?

“There I lay staring upward, while the stars wheeled over… Faint to my ears came the gathered rumor of all lands: the springing and the dying, the song and the weeping, and the slow everlasting groan of overburdened stone.”

J. R. R. Tolkien


Flexing Your Wings: Fledglings Take Flight

If you have followed my newsletters or the Soulful Spring Guide, you may have explored nesting as a metaphor for safety, support, and sanctuary.

Nature now tells us that it may be time to fledge the nest.

During the past couple of weeks, I have seen the baby bluebirds in our backyard fledge the safety of their nest. I literally saw them fly out of the bluebird house for their first flight.

This is a rare thing to see. A clue that birds may be fledging soon are observing them peek out of their nesting cavity. They may spend several hours peeking out of the hole in the nest box — with curiosity, wonderment, and fear — before taking flight.

About a week later, Carolina Wrens who were nesting in a roost house on our deck fledged. We were able to witness them getting fed and as they grew, peeking out of their nest with wonderment.

These fledgling birds are courageous…trusting their instincts, trusting that they have the strength to take flight, and trusting that the support they need will be there when they spread their wings.

Feathers found in or near our backyard.

When we humans think about “leaving our nest,” we usually associate that with leaving our family of origin to go off to college, a new job, or whatever life has in store for us at the time. But in actuality, I believe we are “fledglings” many times throughout our life span. . . . anytime you try something new, take a risk, or start a new phase in life.

This “taking flight” may be a change in our external circumstances – getting married, moving, starting school or a new job, starting a new creative venture, or having a child. Or, our fledgling selves may be born of something internal such as newfound wisdom or spiritual searching and growth.

We often begin again, and again, and again.

Regardless of what brings us to a fledgling time in life, we may feel excited, curious, fearful, courageous, or resistant.  These feelings should be expected and fully embraced.

Are you at a fledgling time in your life? If so, it may be helpful to explore these questions with a trusted friend, in a journal, or through artistic expression:

  • What is piquing your curiosity right now? What change may be stirring?
  • Are you in a phase of transition?
  • What support will be there for you when you are ready to “fledge”? What support do you need to seek?
  • Do you trust that you have the inner and outer resources you need to flex your wings?
  • What makes it difficult to trust?
  • How can you offer gentleness and patience to yourself as you flex your wings?
Carolina Wrens just a few days before fledging the nest.