I found a monarch caterpillar on my tropical milkweed several weeks ago and brought her inside, hoping to keep her safe while she grew and fed and made her transformation to a butterfly.
In this photo she’s a fifth instar, attaching herself to the top of her enclosure, ready to molt for the last time and enter the chrysalis stage.
Here she is eight days later. During the chrysalis stage the caterpillar liquifies inside the cocoon and reorganizes, almost magically transforming into a butterfly. Even after decades of research, scientists admit that the details of this metamorphosis are not completely understood.
She eclosed when I was out of town this past weekend but my amazing house/dog sitter captured this video of her, after all her days of getting ready and getting set, as she flew into action.
I was initially very disappointed that she didn’t wait a few more days until I was home so I could see her emerge and release her myself but in the end I accepted that disappointment as a life lesson.
Things happen in their own time and when the time is right, not on our own individual timelines or in line with our own agendas.
Much of what we might be called to do here on this earth is merely the planting of the seeds, or in this case, the feeding of the caterpillar. Having to see the results in person is perhaps something we need to let go of, simply being content in knowing we were there to get the process started.
And…to have faith in a process that we don’t understand, marveling in a world in which something can transform and become an entity entirely different than what it was.
My thanks to the awesome Aubri McHugh for this last photo and the video of this beauty’s release.
You wrote: “Much of what we might be called to do here on this earth is merely the planting of the seeds, or in this case, the feeding of the caterpillar. Having to see the results in person is perhaps something we need to let go of, simply being content in knowing we were there to get the process started.”
As I contemplate an even more complete retirement from a 45 year long Psychotherapy practice, this comment is such a perfect reminder for me. I’ve been pouting and resisting because often in my profession one does not actually get to see those latter stages of development you describe above.
And it is tempting, on a bad day, to flirt with the ideas of failure and wasted time. Your post, using a metaphor I myself have used with clients many times over the years (I just forgot…) has helped me shake off those thoughts and to remember, I wouldn’t trade a minute of my calling, my life’s work, whether I get a gold watch for my seed planting or not!
Thanks so much!
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