Yesterday we decided to take the children to Chattanooga and go to the big aquarium there.
We have all had such a rough week that a family outing seemed appropriate and healing for all. The aquarium has grown since we have been going and is now two large buildings and with both you start at the top floor and work your way down, passing huge tanks and glass walls of every variety of fish you could think of. They have a special exhibit right now with tons of sea horses and sea dragons – favorites with our children (and me).
The second (newer) building starts you out in a tropical environment and we were full of mixed emotions looking at the plants and trees that were exactly the same as Costa Rica. Ben (13) kept pointing and saying “Look. The same flowers!” Then we headed into the butterfly exhibit which again was very similar to Costa Rica’s flora and fauna and, after reading the information sheet, we realized why. All the butterflies are imported from the Butterfly Farm in Costa Rica. We visited there earlier in July (see July 7th post here) and it was really lovely. At the end of the visit we watched the women packing up boxes of larva ready to be sent around the world and we had asked if they shipped to Tennessee. They do, and the aquarium receives a box from the Farm every Monday and Wednesday with about 500 new butterflies a week coming in.
As Max (5) was holding a butterfly on his finger he said “I wonder if we got to see this little guy when he was just an egg in Costa Rica?” Doing the math we figured that, yes, we were probably there when “he” was in that early stage. We were all again amazed at how small our world really is, and how learning and travel make connections that stir our souls in so many complex ways.