Laurali
Hi, I'm Laurali! I live in a tiny, seaside fishing village in Florida where I nurture my plants, go hiking in the woodland, and wear flowers in my hair.
Hammock Park, 1945 San Mateo Dr, Dunedin, FL 34698, USA

Nature Journal: The Butterfly Garden of Hammock Park in Dunedin, Florida

Friends of Hammock Butterfly Garden With Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly Species, Florida Butterfly Species, Butterfly Plants
It's time for another edition of my nature journal series with the butterfly garden of Hammock Park in Dunedin, Florida!  In case you missed the last one, check out Nature Journal: Late Summer Edition (New England Observations) for more nature-inspired fun!

So, I think it's safe to say I'm back in Florida, and I'm back to my old hiking adventures in the park.  As you may have read about, nature is my therapy.  It's where I go to clear my head, pour my heart out to the fairies, and to say hello to the animals and girly bugs that I've made friends with while hitting the trails.

Lately, after a nice long nature walk in the woods, I've been hitting up the butterfly garden last.  It gives me time to slow down and contemplate the changes that are happening so fast to me.  You can read more about my butterfly transformation to see what I mean.

There's always patterns in nature.  Mother nature always leads me home.  It conveys the deeper meaning of life to me through migratory patterns and symbols in nature.

In this case, the butterfly garden represents the parts of me that are falling away and making room for change to come through.  As autumn begins to circle around in a midair butterfly dance, the butterflies and dragonfly season begin to fly away in earnest.

As per usual, nature matches my life in the most magical way.  The emotional congruence of the caterpillar meets butterfly meets air and flight as the leaves begin to fall from the trees, means that everything is falling into place as it should be.

There has to be a reason, a deeper meaning as to why I keep returning to the butterfly garden time after time.  The butterfly garden is filled with native Florida plants that are wild and primitive with no invading species.  In this way, there's nothing that can invade my heart and mind as I make proper changes in my life.

About a year ago, I volunteered to work on the butterfly garden with the Friends of Hammock, but life got in the way as it does, and now I just visit the garden whenever I can.  I try to do other things for the park, like picking up litter and promoting it.

Even though I'm not a butterfly garden volunteer anymore, the garden holds a special place in my heart.  It's not the prettiest garden.  Again, it's wild, tumbling, and free.  But, I think that's what I like about it.  It reminds me of me.
 A White Garden Trellis With Purple Trumpet Flowers in Florida's Hammock Park in Dunedin, Florida

Nature Journal: The Butterfly Garden of Hammock Park in Dunedin, Florida

I've always had a thing for gardens.  I remember being a little girl and reading about, "The Secret Garden," by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  I loved the movie too and would obsess over it.  As an adult, I'm more obsessed with secret, hidden places than ever!

I started reading Sarah Addison Allen books many years ago, for that same kind of magical realism feel that I love so much.  I quickly fell in love with Garden Spells and wished I could live in the book as much as I wished I could live in the secret garden.

As a little girl, I used to sing to the rose bushes on the side of our house in the lush, green lawns of Southern California.  I remember knowing that something, someone in the rose bush could hear me and really appreciated my song.  Now, I know that someone is the flower fairies!

I believe if we listen closely, that the flowers and plants will tell us their secrets.  If we are kind enough to listen, then we can share our secret, rich inner world with them.  We can tell them anything and they will never, ever judge or condemn us.

That's the beauty of spending time in the garden.  You can whisper your secrets to the garden fairies and garden gnomes and in return, they will bring you back down to earth and ground your energy.

There's something really comforting about growing your own kinfolk style carrots fresh from the garden or living a slower life.  There's something about the magical realism nature field guide tour of garden life that brings the faerie folk to life.
A Florida Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly With Yellow Markings in the Butterfly Garden of Friends of Hammock Park in Dunedin, Florida

The Magic of Butterflies + Fall Seasonal Shift

I recently wrote about, Fall Magic: A Journal of a Seasonal Shift in My Life.  The thing that most people don't know, what makes butterflies truly magical creatures is their ability to take flight after a long transformation.

I mean think about it.  Caterpillars spend the spring season of their life in a cocoon for a spell and then they emerge as a beautiful butterfly attracted to all of these butterfly flowers and wild plants.  They could easily just settle down here and make a life.

Butterflies might hang out for a bit, but they instinctively know that at some point they are going to leave.  Butterflies, especially the monarch butterfly, migrates.  They will soon take flight and leave the past behind.

I relate to that.  I kinda feel like a butterfly myself.  Like, I've spent all this time in my cocoon, nesting and gathering my strength and courage.  Then, I emerged from my cocoon with this shiny, new soul that I wanted to show off to other people.

Now, I am at a point where I want to move forward fearlessly with my life and take my wings and fly away.  I want to move on as people do.  Who knew butterflies could be so damn relatable?

I don't know where I'm going, where the flight will take me, but I am definitely off to bigger and better things in my life, much like my butterfly friends.  I feel like the only thing keeping me stuck in the same place is that my cocoon is so deliciously comfortable!

Who wouldn't want to stay for a bit?  But now, much like a baby bird, I'm being pushed out of the nest.  It's time for me to take flight in whatever way that means to me.
 Tropical Trailing Garden Trellis With Palm Tree Background in Sunny Florida

The Secret Life of Butterflies

The secret life of butterflies really lies in your heart, in an ancient place, in a white trellis covered in vine and trumpet flowers.  It's a story as old as time.  It's a thought that we often overlook when we're in the middle of searching.

The secret of the butterfly is in the journey, not the destination.  It's in how the butterfly maiden became how she did over many trials and tribulations.  It's the lessons she learned in life.  It's the flowers in her hair.

Be the butterfly.  Be the garden.  Be the butterfly garden and live wildly, tumbling, and free.

If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden ~ Mary in "The Secret Garden," by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

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