Metamorphosis

One day he is there in his caterpillar body hanging from the lip of the glass jar that has been his home for the last two weeks, and then he is not. It’s a death of sorts and has me feeling mournful for his loss this morning.

IMG_0092You can see him attached and suspended in the J position.

He had been acting differently for about three days. He stopped eating and moved to the top of his glass jar. He stayed in a horizontal position there for a day or two until he suspended himself yesterday.

This is the scene this morning.

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Lack of appetite and failure to move are maybe the first signs a death/transformation are imminent for caterpillars…. and for humans too. Can’t help but think of the similarities. I am wondering if in the last three days he had been sensing that some big change was about to happen. Certainly his body was giving him signals.

I find myself trying to imagine the organic shiftings that are happening within the chrysalis at this moment: cells rearranging themselves, tissues dissolving and reforming. On the outside all looks quiet. He has pulled himself in and shut out the world. His home for the next two weeks this beautiful yellow/green orb with gold dots sprinkled around the top.

This is the universal story of  death/rebirth coming to you from a glass jar on a screen porch. We are now in that quiet place, removed from the world, encased in a protective shell, waiting on the work of  forces far greater than anything we could ever dream possible.  It’s a miracle really.

 

 

 

Well Lookee Here!

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I found this little guy on the last leaf of the last milkweed plant I looked at on my walk Friday. And I almost missed him. He looks quite impressive in this photo but he is actually very tiny, about the length of a dime.

He is now living on the screen porch in a fish tank with a fresh supply of milkweed leaves but has not ventured from the leaf where I found him. The edges of the leaf have been nibbled on both ends, so I know he has been moving about.

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It takes a monarch about a month to go through the stages from egg to adult – egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult. My newly found larva has a lot of growing to do in a very short time. And I am a bit worried. I have discovered that like all good ideas I bluster upon, it can be more complicated than it seems at first. For instance, I read that monarchs are usually raised in mesh cages for air circulation and that the milkweed leaves should be placed in water to prevent them from drying out. I don’t have a mesh cage, but I did place cheesecloth on top of the tank so that he can’t escape but still has a supply of fresh air. I have added a new sprig of milkweed and placed it in some fresh water. We’ll see… I’ll keep you posted.

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