I was taking a nice, long walk the other afternoon and as I passed this jasmine hedge, I happened to spot...something...out of the corner of my eye. I walk at a pretty good clip so when I decided to see what it was that I actually saw, I had to stop, turn around and go back. I'm glad I did because otherwise I would have missed this little caterpillar. He was just living his little caterpillar life, munching away on those leaves oblivious to my existence. But he made a great photo for me.
As I walked away, resuming my brisk walk, I remember thinking of all the things I knew caterpillars, wondering what sort of butterfly he would evolve into, remembering all of the many butterfly pavilions I've visited and then realizing that I had no photos of butterflies in my file. (yeah that's how my brain works. Thoughts are layered and sometimes even sort of related). Oddly that series of thoughts was immediately followed by the sighting and subsequent photograph of an actual butterfly at the other end of the same jasmine hedge. Perfect! Got that shot as well.
Butterflies, by the way, are not very good at holding still for photographs.
As I continued my walk I thought a lot about caterpillars turning into butterflies and human evolution and personal transformation. How I have matured as I've grown and, over time, turned into the person I am today. I was such a shy, awkward child that I would cry if the teacher called on me in class - and I usually knew the answer. More than anything in the world, when I was a child I wished for powers of invisibility. I was such a sad little wierdo. Gradually of course I turned into an equally weird teenager, still clumsy and awkward, no longer shy about giving the right answer in school but hideously shy outside of the classroom. Then evolving again into an adult, less clumsy, marginally less shy. To today, still clumsy but no longer shy, I have spoken confidently and effectively to large groups of people and even on camera. I guess I am finally the butterfly version of myself. Geez, took long enough.
The butterfly is also my mother's 'spirit animal' if you will. She was fascinated by butterflies and I'm not positive, but I suspect that part of her reason for having a flower garden was so that butterflies would come to visit her. She had prints of them on her clothing, pictures of them, books about them, jewelry of them and they were even represented in stained glass. Before she passed, she told my sister that if she could return to us, it would be as a butterfly. Now every butterfly that visits my garden or that lingers near me, I can't help but wonder.
Many cultures associate the butterfly with our souls. Around the world, people view the butterfly as presenting endurance, change, hope and life. Well those are lovely associations.
Did you know that there are 750 different species of butterflies in the US alone? There are 17,500 in the entire world. Wow! Did you also know that a group of butterflies is called a "flutter"? I think that is one of the best group names ever.
I'm not a butterfly expert by any means but I think the photo I have hear is a Gulf Fritillary butterfly. And so was the caterpillar. Which means that in a couple of weeks the fuzzy little caterpillar in the above photo is going to look a whole lot like the butterfly in the other photo. How cool is that. I guess there is hope for all of us.
Hope your weekend evolves into something wonderful.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.