Three days ago, while walking home from the library, we came upon a monarch caterpillar. I squealed and shrieked and made all kinds of excited expressions while I nestled it into Isadora’s careful hands to safely ride the remainder of the wagon journey home. (surely this is a developmental milestone – the ability to carefully hold a fragile thing in your hands without squashing it) It was only three days ago that we moved said caterpillar into a gallon-size pickle jar apartment, furnished with milkweed, and set it atop the kitchen table to monitor carefully. Yesterday it settled in a hanging-upside-down posture and today I noticed the green-tinted sticky fluid oozing from its body. Magic transformation goo? I might bottle it! I also noticed the overall deflating that’s taken place, which you too can see pretty well in some of these photos.
Today I took it out of the jar and placed the milkweed it was hanging from into a bottle. It’s glued down pretty well, oozing fluid, and deflated – she’s not going anywhere, right? I want a front row seat in this transformation, and I’d rather not be looking through the distorted film of a pickle jar. It’s been ages since I witnessed the magic of the metamorphosis, since about 1st grade, I believe. What a powerful symbol, the chrysalis – one I’ve appropriated it countless times in designs and art pieces. Imagine how giddy I am to witness it at my kitchen table! And it’s pretty wonderful for Isadora to see, too. She’s been appointed to the important position of filling Daddio in on the current State of the Metamorphosis the moment he walks through the door.
So I pulled the leaves from the pickle jar, took some pictures, and WHAT’S THIS? An stowaway – a newly-hatched caterpillar that must have been minding its own business, munching on some leaves, when a giant thing swooped in and bottled it in a mysterious clear bubble that smelled strangely of dill. So now we shall fill in the missing parts of the timeline – just how long does it take for a wee caterpillar to grow to cross-the-road-to-find-a-nice-spot-for-chrysalis-and-get-kidnapped-into-red-rolling-wagon stage?
Would you be a dear and indulge me a little as we follow these two real closely for a few days/weeks? I’m at the edge of my seat here, waiting to see what tomorrow will bring.