Please, I need help with an intervention! My wife, Patty, is addicted to weed. Just the other night she said (and I’m not making this up) “I’ll be right back, I’m going out to find where some weed is growing, cut it and bring it home.” Sure enough, she came back with several big leaves of weed. She then got out all her weed paraphernalia.
I first noticed this tendency in her several years ago. During one of our walks, Patty stopped suddenly, looked on the side of the path and exclaimed “look – weed!” She went over and caressed this innocuous looking plant and began to extol its virtues. But it was what she uttered next that truly surprised me. Patty, who is a second grade teacher, actually said “my kids are going to love this.” Shocked?
Well, I may be getting a little ahead of myself. Before you call the NEA and DEA to have her fired and arrested, I should explain something. The weed I’m talking about is milkweed. And as far as I know, it’s perfectly legal. You see, milkweed is the plant that begins and sustains the life of the. Monarchs pollinate, mate, lay eggs, and go through all stages of development on the leaves of the milkweed plant. That’s it. It’s the only plant they can survive on. If there were no milkweed, there would be no Monarchs.
Enter the addict. Patty seized on this entomological fact and began to cultivate Monarch butterflies with her classes. She uses it as a teaching tool. Her students gather together to observe these eggs, which are always laid in a sac on the underside of the leaf. This is due to it’s coarser skin and better protection from the elements. The eggs eventually produce the caterpillars who then munch away on these leaves. It turns out they are the real addicts. Patty has to keep resupplying the leaves for these voracious critters. They eat so much and get so fat that they have to molt their exoskeletons several times to allow room to grow. Eventually, they form the inevitable chrysalis or cocoon and before you can say metamorphosis, they emerge as beautiful adult Monarch butterflies.
Patty’s passion for this has won her accolades from the schools and even the community in general. She has successfully raised and released these glorious insects for several years. Below you see Patty in her classroom with her “paraphernalia” which are officially called butterfly huts.
When she releases the adults they will join thousands of others fluttering around pollinating milkweed all summer and into autumn. Before winter they will migrate nearly 2500 miles from here in Virginia to Mexico to hibernate. Next spring they will make their way back to mate and lay their eggs. The lucky ones will be discovered by Patty, who will nurse and nurture them while she educates even luckier children.
As for the intervention, never mind. I think this is one habit that I will just have to live with. But if she ever comes home with the real stuff, I’ll call you.