{ A caterpillar's story .. }

** Posted this on Facebook, and I thought it might find a happy home here on the blog, too ; )

   This summer, while sitting out in the yard and eating a delicious sandwich that juwels had made for me, I saw something slink by in the tall weeds below the cherry tree. The color was exotic, and when I saw a black band move by, I thought for sure this was some kind of snake. 

    A few seconds later, crouching and parting the tall green stalks, I found this very extraordinary caterpillar. It looked like one of those ceremonial Chinese dragons, painted eyes and all. And one of the most unique parts of all were these glowing (literally glowing) purple-blue spots, like something lit up by a black light. 

   I didn't wait long to scoop him up with all the feathered T-Rex chickens in the yard. Not sharing our .. it's-too-beautiful-to-eat sentimentality, they'd gobble him up in a heart beat. Brutes.

    I brought him into the Hive and called for juwels, who immediately pulled out cameras, lenses ... directed me to the best lit window, etc ..

    Now, we had a problem - the space where I found him was moist, green and shaded, unlike any other place I could think of on the ranch. But if I set him back in the weeds, I knew he'd be eaten.

    Like a little kid, but not because I wanted to keep him, I found an old 1/2 gallon honey jar, put some leaves in the bottom, sticks ... a mason jar cap full of spring water, and said, "okay little buddy ... now just spin your cocoon, and I'll keep an eye on you."

    Maybe ten minutes later, juwels told me to come in and have a look at him, "he's not looking too good.. "

    She was right. His color was fading, and from his stuck position about half way up the glass, he arced back, letting a dozen or so of his legs go, back bending and dangling. He looked miserable .. like a prisoner.

    I felt partly ashamed for putting him in the bottle, and took him out in the yard at once. But I didn't place him back on the ground below the tree. Instead, I stuck him like a little suction cup to a branch, about as high up as I could reach, just hoping he'd get comfy and build his womb far away from the chickens.

   I can't play God, I told myself ... but I did stand there for a few minutes watching him slink along the limb. He was headed down the trunk, and I just couldn't help myself from plucking him off the tree again and sticking him back up on a limb. "No, no .. little buddy. This won't do ... you need to stay in the tree."

But once again .. he headed down.

    Resolved that I'd done all that I could do, I went back inside and got to work. Ten or so minutes later, curiosity got the better of me, and out I went to check in. He was gone ... I searched the weeds on the ground. I looked higher up on the tree - even climbed a few feet, but he vanished. I was sure he'd made it down by then, and been gobbled up. Chickens are seriously cold blooded killers and master hunters. I learned this a while back during grasshopper season ... Poor little buddy. Never had his chance to fly ...


    And then. And then and then ... a long while later, standing in the yard and talking to my neighbor about something mundane .. maybe her broken down car and what might be wrong with it, and I looked over at this small red brick fire pit in the yard, and saw this magnificent butterfly just clinging to the side. I knew at once it was my Chinese Dragon !! (actually called a swallow tail or something like that .. ). 

    Not sure how I've been so lucky in the past, but by chance I've been given the opportunity to play male doula for two other butterflies. And I knew that pose - clinging to the wall, wings still not fully pumped up but rather hanging limp with odd curves and bends, and not quite sure what to do next.

    I put my finger on the wall ahead of him, and he just edged forward and grabbed on. I marveled at his curly-Q tongue, black bulbous eyes .. and how his black-light spots had stayed with him as a pixelated wing trimming. But how he'd stayed alive was the biggest marvel.

    It wasn't long before his wings were all pumped up and stiff, and off he went into the breeze. Later, juwels found a small punctured cocoon tucked away in the hollow of a brick .. a good ten feet from the tree ... a mile or so by caterpillar standards .. and forever away in a place where the T-Rex birds roamed fierce and hungry ..

What's the moral of this story ?

    Sometimes you have to trust that things are set, and that some caterpillars have earned their wings, so you must let them on their way and not worry too much.

Happy Friday!



1 comment:

  1. Hi! My husband & I are in the midst of remodeling our new to us motorhome. We left you a message on Facebook (probably in your non-friend folder!) Soon~Dawn