A true story, although this occurred some time ago, I thought it appropriate to post now for new beginnings in 2013.
This was the first caterpillar I saw that warm sunny day at a client's home as I was beginning to water her flowers. Then I noticed the other caterpillar, the one that I named Spirit. He was stuck to the side of the tiered strawberry pot. The first caterpillar, the one photographed above, crawled down from the top of the pot and started harassing the other caterpillar (Spirit), who was stuck upside down, getting ready to cocoon. Spirit could not defend himself because he had already attached himself to the pot. Yet, he tried valiantly to fend off the other caterpillar by angrily whipping himself up at the one above.
Usually a caterpillar will cocoon under a leaf, or a branch. Therefore, this was an unusual spot to attach himself. I still needed to water these tiered pots for my client, so I knocked him loose, figuring he would crawl away from the bully and go find a suitable leaf to hang under to cocoon himself preparing for hibernation. However, to my surprise, two days later I found him in the second level of the pot below where he had previously fallen, and he had already cocooned. Perhaps he felt it had been a good spot under the flowers protected from the sun and the wind. On the other hand, perhaps he was already been too far in the process when I detached him from the pot. Nevertheless, I still could not water without drowning him in the chilled water from the hose.
So I waited a couple more days, not sure how long it would take him to hatch, silly word I know, thinking in my naivety that it was like an egg. However when I checked on the plants a few days later, they were getting very dehydrated. I had a responsibility in keeping these plants alive.
After reading how one was supposed to prepare a proper container for a caterpillar prior to cocooning for a home project, and seeing how important it was to allow them to have a screen top, or branches to hang their pod from, I knew I had blown it. I also knew that I now could not just lay the pod outside somewhere to fend for its self.
You see, the importance of their being able to suspend from above as a cocoon, is because when they emerge, they will shed the shell and hang upside down until their wings are dry and fully developed. If they are not given the space and time for that before standing upright, their wings may be deformed.
Then I kept trying to find a better solution daily, while keeping a close watch at the color of his evolution. According to my research, the shell would turn from its shiny blue-green color, to a dark black, during the transformation process. Then as he got closer to his emergence, the shell would become iridescent.
As the days passed quickly by, I could see the chrysalis changing, growing darker every day. This was happening way too fast for me. I still had not come up with a better solution. However, I was glad I had not put him outside someplace, because we ended up with one or two nights of near freezing temperatures. This was very unusual for Southern California this time of year. He surely would have perished had I left him in that pot. So I gained a little comfort, or should I say relief from my guilt, in knowing that perhaps I actually saved his life by interfering that day. His brother/sister, or mate (not sure what the relationship was), most probably did not make it through that cold spell, and may have perished.
Back to the story; As I was watching his shell grow more iridescent, I grew more worried, and thought I might have another day or two to come up with a brilliant solution. However, I miscalculated and found the empty shell in the next morning when I went into my home office. :-O
A moment of panic struck in thinking he emerged and got out of the bookcase, because I had left the door ajar to keep the air circulating in there. But then I spotted him on the edge of one of my books, and a very appropriate one I might add: titled "Along the Path to Enlightenment", right next to "A Purpose Driven Life" and "The Emerging Mind".
Therefore, my next plan was, with God's help I could send him healing energy through prayer for him to fully develop himself. So I connected with my Divine in prayer, and then sent an energy transmission, willing his wings to straighten out. Then I pleaded with God to assist in his healing. I know, pleading is not necessary, but I felt my strong emotions allowed me to wing my prayer in full force to Divinity. I eventually surrendered. If it were not to be, so be it. I would figure out what kind of flowers he liked to drink the nectar of, and I would feed and care for him the best way I could, for as long as he lived. I would just have to live with the knowing that I may have deprived him of flight and freedom; a very heavy burden for an Empath to bear.
I felt a deep connection with him right away, and knew that his story was somehow my story. I felt at the soul level that my path was not complete. There was a fork in the road, and the direction I went, along with the choice, was mine alone. However, once the direction were chosen, there would be no turning back, and so it would be.
I knew I had to trust in myself, trust in God, and trust in Spirit. So I prayed for my Spirit Butterfly. Then I prayed some more.
I then took Spirit and the flowers outside to place them in the fresh air and sunshine. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining warm, and there was a light breeze in the air. I watched him for a little while, and he crawled to the top of the flowers, but made no attempt to fly. I had no intention in trying to force his flight, because I knew only he would know when he was ready to attempt it. His right wings were still bent pretty badly. So I had no idea if he would even be able to fly.
I had to go back inside to finish getting ready for work because I was now late. I would check on him once again before I left for the day.
When I went back out to check on him, I went into prayer one more time and sent him energy. A moment later he tried to flutter his wings. This was the first time he tried that, but he was still holding on to the flowers with his little legs. Although, his wings were actually looking much straighter, but still they were not completely straight.
Then, just before I was about to leave, I said goodbye, and wished him well. "I wish you a long life with hundreds of sweet nectar flowers", I uttered with tears in my eyes. Then I told him; "Go and see the world on the wings of the wind."
I no sooner uttered those words, and he suddenly took off in flight, circling around me before heading to a tree above. Tears flowed like a fountain from my eyes, and I knew he would be okay...