Sunday, December 07, 2014


I wrote this thing in the summertime as we were raising and revering the caterpillars.  I feel like I'm talking about caterpillars a lot these days, but if I love something so much, how could i ever say just one thing about it?  So here you go:

Watching caterpillars journey through their life's purpose, watching them grow and transform and be what they are meant to be is one of the most amazing things to experience.  Amazing.  It seems small and simple and a little bit trivial but it's one thing to know about it and quite another to witness it. It's powerful, nature at its best, most beautiful.  There isn't one among us, i'll bet, that doesn't love and even revere a little bit, the butterfly.  

We had two habitats with several monarch butterflies in each.  With them you have to provide their food and what they eat are milkweed plants.  One evening I went out in search of some to replace the old chewed up and slightly withered leaves.  Imagine our luck when we found one with a caterpillar on it! A wild one! Excited for him to join his friends, I carefully carried him inside.  Somewhat a delicate process, i took out the old ones and laid them on the table with the caterpillars scattered about.  I put in the new ones and then snipped off the leaves of the old and laid them on the fresh leaves of the new plant.  While I did this I talked to them because they are special, and I felt that i would do anything to keep them alive. I would not treat this lightly, this great undertaking of the caterpillar.  They had grown so big since we first saw them and it's a pleasure to watch them. Eating and shedding, growing and changing. 

Late at night I sat at the table just thinking and I remembered I like to be up at night sometimes. I've forgotten this.  The night is quiet but my thoughts are loud, and clear, and pulsing, and though I am, I don't feel alone.  I went over to the dining room table where the habitats sat and watched my friends eat. Just sat and watched. I tried to number them all. Some were hiding, some were upside down, two were eating together at the same leaf and I wondered if maybe this process could be sort of a social thing.  Their stripes are mesmerizing and I love the way they glide around.

And I spotted one high up on the habitat, near the opening, not on a leaf, not eating. And not moving.  He was smaller than the others and as I watched them I kept glancing up at him hoping to see some movement. And then I felt my heart tremble because I was struck with the thought of what if he never makes it down? What if he can't find the food? What if he's already lost? And then my heart groaned and trembled some more and I may have shed a tear. Maybe because it was late and i was in loopyland but also, it was really very sad. He is so near the things he needs but for some reason he's not going to them. And I can't do anything but watch. I've provided him all that i can.  I tried to gently nudge him from the other side of the case, urging him to move and find his way, feeling weepy and desperate because I just want him to live. Just live, little thing, and become. 

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