My good friend and walking buddy, Vivian, regularly raises Monarch butterflies. I did not know this when I was telling her about a friend back home, who also regularly raises Monarch butterfiles.
It was back in the beginning of my summer break, when I had all the time in the world, and my list of TO DOs seemed much less daunting than they do currently. I was mentioning that I loved hearing about the Monarchs that Letitia and her kids raised, and that I thought it might be something I could do.
Vivian volunteered that she has been raising them herself for a number of years, and that it really was a pretty cool experience.
Fast-forward to a few weeks back, when, after a very long, dry spell, Vivian *finally* found some milkweed with an egg on it. She had a catepillar that had recently gone into its chrysalis and would I want it for my classroom.
Ummmm ... yeah!
My kids and I have been faithfully watching for signs of change in the chrysalis, and this weekend, when I stopped by to check on it, I could tell, up by the back end of the abdomen, that we could have a chrysalis late this weekend or early this week!
Sure enough, when I walked into school this morning, this is what greeted me!
Vivian had warned me that when it happened, the emerging butterfly would do so quickly. Boy! Was she ever right! Within minutes of me noticing the completely clear chrysalis, I was treated to the butterfly actually stretching its abdomen (thus, forcing blood to its wings) and uncurling those magnificent wings!
I was both amazed and humbled in one breath, and I couldn't help but be reminded of how amazing this creation is that I get to witness on a daily basis.
I also couldn't help but draw some comparisons to my personal life. It's easy to do when you're a writer, living the writerly life, and seeing juicy tidbits ALL OVER THE PLACE in daily life. That's just how we writerly types roll.
I set out this year to change some things that I just didn't like about myself. Nothing major, but I knew I needed to make some changes that would be lasting and crucial and necessary in order for me to see the fruition of some dreams.
And I feel, for the first time, like I understand the process of this Monarch butterfly's metamorphosis. Morphing isn't easy. It takes a lot of work and energy. For two weeks, the catepillar feeds on milkweed leaves, encouraging growth and gathering energy from the leaf that is necessary to create the chrysalis.
Then, once snugly inside the cozy cocoon, there is all that forming and shaping and molding that must occur in order to see the end result, the beautiful blaze of orange and white and black.
My wings aren't completely dry ... they aren't fully uncurled ... there is still some work to be done. But I am stretching them and growing them and soon, without warning, I will stretch them out fully, recognizing the true realization of those dreams.
William Wordsworth said it best, when he wrote "To a Butterfly."
I've watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that flower
And, little Butterfly! Indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! -- not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!