How We Recharge, Patty's Retreat

When I Grow up I Wanna be a Butterfly

Caterpillar
Monarch “larvae” ready for a closeup!
Caterpillar2
Beauty on beauty…

A few summers ago I found this beautiful monarch “larvae” in the vegetable garden on a milkweed I had purposefully weeded around.   Obviously a caterpillar can’t take a selfie, so what’s a girl to do?

 

The obvious answer? Pose it for some awesome photos with a friend, Sheri Bergman, behind the camera.

 

 

This year, I brought in a monarch caterpillar and it metamorphosed overnight into this gorgeous jeweled chrysalis (I missed the whole thing).

chrysalis
Check out the chrysalis

I also missed the  totally cool nearly-butterfly phase,  but after relocating the chrysalis outside, here’s what I found just a few days ago.  I had clearly JUST missed the hatching as well as it pumping up its new wings.

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Transformation complete!

Observing this process, I can’t help but think of the many different metamorphoses we all pass through in a lifetime.  It seems unlikely that the caterpillar knows it will someday have wings, but it’s clearly trusting the process and moving through it.  Life lesson in there…

OK, OK… I can’t resist one more lesson!

Did you know only 1-3% of monarch caterpillars ever become a butterfly? Birds, bugs and other predators are to blame, and when you factor in pesticides, loss of habitat, climate change and other challenges, the result is a 90% loss of monarchs in the past year.  All of this is a strong argument for weeding around the milkweed plants, and even for bringing in monarch caterpillars for the few weeks it takes for them to grow big enough to form a chrysalis.  Plus it’s a fascinating experience!  For more details, and for some cool videos of a monarch caterpillar hatching from its egg AND a monarch emerging from its chrysalis, check out The Monarch Project.

“When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she had always been. But she had wings.”  Dean Jackson


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