Winter Butterflies

The days were becoming colder and colder each day, and that means one thing. Well, it means a couple of things, but the most important thing is that I’ll be flying back to the winter place.

I might be young, but I’ve flown that path my entire life. I even have it memorized—after all, my family has been flying to that same spot for years. It’d be sad if I didn’t have it all memorized by now.

So, I decided that, yes, it was time to set off and fly to our family’s winter spot. And I was doing pretty alright for a good forty minutes… until a butterfly showed up.

I perked up instantly, curious about the little orange creature. “Oh, hello,” I said. “You’re very beautiful.”

The butterfly didn’t respond and promptly flew away.

“Wait, come back!” I followed the orange insect, wings beating furiously as I tried to keep up with it. It wasn’t all that difficult —hummingbirds like me are, in fact, very quick flyers.

Eventually, I realized that it was about time for me to land at my winter home — just as the sun was beginning to set.

I sighed in relief. Finally, I’d arrived to —

Wait a minute.

This… doesn’t look like my family’s winter spot.

Oh. Oh, great. The butterfly led me astray, didn’t it? I looked around, and sure enough — yep, there was that orange butterfly, flapping away, looking all too smug for an insect.

I was seething inside.

“Oh, hello Ruby! What are you doing here?”

I jumped at the voice, turning around. In front of me was a black-chinned hummingbird; one I recognized, too. “Oh, Ebony! Nothing much, I was just following this butterfly and got lost.”

Ebony chuckled. “I would think so. It’s going to take another hour for you to reach your winter spot!”

“It is?!” I gasped. “How far did I go?!”

“Pretty far. The sun’s coming down, and I have room for some company. You can rest for the night here.”

I sighed in relief. “Thanks, Ebony.” I followed her to her winter home — a cozy nest in an oak tree.

“It’s a nice place, right?” Ebony preened.

I rolled my eyes, finding a small part of the nest to lay in.

Ebony nestled in next to me.

I must have fallen asleep eventually, because I blinked and suddenly it was daytime.

“Sleeping Beauty awakes!” Ebony said. “Did you have a good sleep?”

“The best. Thanks for letting me crash at your place, Ebony, but now

I have to go to my actual winter spot.”

“Of course.” Ebony smiled. “Are you sure you know the way there, though? You’re pretty far from home.”

“Oh.” I had forgotten about that. “Do you know where to go?”

“Of course I do! Come on, we can go right now.”

“Oh, now? Alright.” I got up and took a moment to stretch my wings. “Let’s go!”

The other hummingbird smiled at me, and together we flew off west, to my actual winter home this time.

Illustration by May Torii of characters in her story, Ebony, a black-chinned hummingbird, and Ruby, a ruby-throated hummingbird, looking at the orange butterfly.

Story and illustration

by May Torii