From Milkweed to Monarch

While house-sitting for friends in Massachusetts, we took care of Flute, their parakeet, and two caterpillars in the dining room. The caterpillars lived on fresh milkweed leaves from the garden. And they sure put away a lot of leaves, chewing audibly beside us during mealtime (and apparently all the rest of the time).

One day they stopped eating and attached themselves to the side of the terrarium, quiet yet pulsating, and seeming to shrink inwardly, their festive green and yellow bodies growing dark and shriveled. I stayed up as late as I could and finally had to crash. In the morning those discarded husks lay on the floor, each replaced by a gleaming jewel-like chrysalis.

Flute was a much jollier and more sociable companion, riding about on our shoulders and chatting throughout the day, but the caterpillars were a (mostly) silent reminder of the daily small miracles that surround us.



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