Monday, October 12, 2015

Jealousy and the Caterpillar

The front wall of our house has been under siege by monarch caterpillars for over a month now. At first, I thought it was just a few wayward souls who lost their way from the front yard maple tree. But since then there are too many to believe it is just some random occurrence. Evidently, our green house calls to them. Must say something about the splendiferous nature of the people living inside.

Today we got lucky to the extreme. We caught one in the act of building her cocoon. Since I feel a deep, personal connection after seeing this caterpillar in such a vulnerable moment, I am going to take the liberty of naming her. Chloe, I've always liked that name.

I was watching for Chloe to be spitting up some kind of cocoon wrap. She was surrounding herself with little pieces of something, attached in an oval around her. When my son came to check out nature in action, he noted that Chloe was plucking out her caterpillar fur one strand at a time. Then she placed it next to her body. So far, she has a horseshoe around herself!

It's just like that disease in which people pull out individual strands of hair. Except instead of being something based on stressed, this is the foundation of Chloe's new house.

So, I know it's something that people have been dwelling on forever, but how do insects know to do that? Did Chloe wake up this morning and think, "yah know, it being Monday and all, think I'll go over to the green house and pluck out my fur. And then, hey, this would be neat, I'll turn my hair into a house."

Is that what she was thinking? What else could it be?

The other thing about caterpillars is their reverence for a good long nap. I mean, look what they put into making their bed customized, comfy, and cozy. This is no lazy insect. If they are going to that much trouble to deck out their sleeping arrangement, they deserve that lovely deep sleep they are going to get. Personally, I feel full of high flying self-esteem if I actually take the time to make my bed in the morning.

I am rather jealous of Chloe, I have to admit. When I wake up in the morning, I do NOT come out looking like a butterfly. Not even close. Those monarch's sure have one cute style after a next. From fuzzy black and orange to intricate gorgeous wings of the same color. Do they ever have a bad hair day? I think not.

Hmmm, gosh, now I'm wondering what I could accomplish today that would be even half as interesting as building myself a napping house with my hair. Maybe if I add some new kind of sauce to tonight's tofu meatloaf, that would be something worth talking about. Who am I kidding? All I can do is sit around and write about the wonders of nature. But then, that's not such a bad thing. At least I get to share this with you.

Heather Leigh,
Fanatically jealous of the monarch

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