When my son was in school, I used to take him to a Native American flute festival (he used to play that type of flute) near Yosemite. One of the invited performers was a beautiful young lady who would always open her show telling us about her past struggles with depression, alcohol, and drug addiction. She said that, although she felt very ashamed of her behavior, she was unable to change it for a long time. One day, however, she almost died of an overdose, and after a few weeks in the hospital fighting for her life, she woke up feeling that she was not that caterpillar anymore: she had finally morphed into a butterfly, she was now free of addiction and was going to be able to fly.
Although a metamorphosis like the one described above seems sudden, it is already happening before we notice it. But in order to meet the butterfly we are meant to become, we must accept and welcome our inner caterpillar.
A fellow entomologist who works for the University of California at Davis told me that people often call her asking how they can have more butterflies in their gardens. She must explain to them that, for this to happen, they need to leave the caterpillars alone. People are often shocked when they are reminded about the connection between an obnoxious destructive larva eating their precious ornamentals and the beautiful butterflies that visit their flowers.
During the past few years, the UC Davis arboretum has made a concerted effort to plant more milkweed on its grounds, hoping to welcome the caterpillars of the Monarch Butterfly. I was pleasantly surprised to find several of them on May 1st, on a chilly and windy morning, near the arboretum’s nursery (featured photograph).
The featured photo is the larva (caterpillar) of the Monarch Butterfly, and The photo below is an older photo of the adult, which first appeared in my blog on January 1st, 2022.
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