("An hour after unloading the van last night and dumping piles of equipment in various areas of the house, I delicately lay the screen house that houses several monarch caterpillars (who camped with us in order to be attended), on the dining room table. We already had the good fortune to witness one finishing up the final moments of her chrysalis right as our tent was set up and before the storms came, the next morning, with a second near the end of the process, and a third as we left the nature center on the way home. We were thrilled to gather around and see the final movements as the jade green being emerged... I had no idea that this process took a matter of minutes, and was very much hoping to witness this all from the beginning.
So I sat and got my iPad at the ready, thinking that since this latest caterpillar had made the characteristic “J” while hanging, that any minute, the miracle would happen before my eyes. Well, I sat for 2 hours, watching for the tiny pulsations to further, and of course, was recalling labor, and the organic unfolding of that process, and went to sleep. I checked them at midnight— still still... and when the dog awakened me early to go outside, although not thrilled with being awakened, was excited to see that the caterpillar was still resting.
So I set up camp again, noticing that her antennae were droopy and her “J” curve had released, just as I had read as a sign of getting close. And sure enough, the caterpillar began the hard work of releasing her outer skin, and revealing the luminous green pulsing pupa that lay underneath, ready to be revealed. I could hardly breathe as I watched, mesmerized by this most complex, yet natural, process. It felt otherworldly, yet struck me that this process happens over and over again, for the continuance of all living things. Although common, it is profound, and makes me want to tune in not only to the process with monarchs, but to be mindful of the proliferation of life all around. What an energizing and privileged way to start the day..."))