They were ahead of me by about 250 feet when I saw them both stop and look at something on the ground. Then both heads went down and I heard,
“MOM! YOU’VE GOT TO SEE THIS!”
Well, when I caught up to them I couldn’t see what they were talking about because they were hovering over “it”.
“What did you find?”
“A fairy wing or a butterfly wing,” declared my youngest.
My oldest tried flipping it over with a stick.
“I think it is a butterfly wing because a fairy’s wing would be clear.” said my youngest.
“Can we pick it up and keep it?” They asked in perfect unison.
“Do you think you should?” I asked.
They thought for a while. “No. We should leave it for some other little girl to discover.”
“I think that sounds like an excellent choice.” Yes, I was beaming. My children practicing Leave No Trace! Voluntarily!
“Can we look at it a little longer?”
“Take as long as you want.”
And, they did. About 15 minutes later they had looked at it from both sides, noticed little flecks came off of it if you touched it, made sure I had photographic evidence of their amazing discovery, and had set the wing off the center of the trail so no one would step on it on accident.
For the next hour on the trail we talked about what those flecks could be and what they might be used for. I didn’t volunteer knowledge.
YES. IT WAS HARD FOR THE NATURALIST IN ME TO NOT TALK!
I asked open ended questions like why do you think that wing was there? What do you think the flecks were?
On their own they figured out that:
- The butterfly wing must have come from a butterfly that was being eaten by a bird
- Birds must not like the butterfly wings because of the little flecks getting caught in their throat
- The wing looked like it didn’t have much meat on it
- That the wing had structure like you see on the side of a bridge
- The flecks were colored so that must be how the butterfly looks like it does
- Since they (flecks) are so small that must be why the butterfly can fly because he isn’t dragged down by a lot of weight
- And, the bridge like structure must help the butterfly’s wing be strong so it can fly
Magic doesn’t need to be big and fancy. It can be discovered in something as small as a butterfly wing.