Growing up my Nana referred to me as "a fanciful child". My mother called me, "drifty". And it was true. I was always just kind of lost in my head somewhere.
Instead of paying attention to what the teacher was saying, I was thinking about a book I was reading and wondering what happened next in the story. Rather than focus on the weeding I was supposed to be doing in the garden, I was watching the clouds and seeing the 'pictures' that they made. While walking at Knotts Berry Farm I was pretending that I actually was living back in the olden days and paying no attention whatsoever to what was going on around me and consequently walked smack into a cast iron post, knocking myself out cold.
I was accused on so many occasions throughout my entire life of wasting time and not being productive because I was distracted and engaged by something other than what I was supposed to have been doing. Shame on me.
I have not gotten much better. I still watch dust motes dance in the sun and am mesmerized by a snowfall. I am entranced by raindrops against the window and delighted by the rainbow cast by sunlight through a prism. I suppose it is no surprise that I grew up to enjoy photography so much, to still be writing and reading. And I guess nobody is shocked that I am still easily distracted if I don't force myself to stay focused.
Just yesterday when I was out in the yard, moving with great purpose across the lawn, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that brought me to a complete halt. I saw this little guy in the photo above.
The bright colours really stood out against the green lawn so I guess it would have been hard to miss but he was so very small and the lawn, comparatively so very large, that it was just happenstance that we were in the same relative area at the same time.
I stopped what I was doing and ran back in the house for my camera. I wasn't sure I would find him again, and indeed, it took a few minutes to locate him. I tried to retrace my steps exactly and stepped very carefully. I didn't want to discover that I had squished him for heaven's sakes!
But there he was, still nonchalantly, munching away at the grass, slowly making his journey across the backyard.
I was so entranced by him that I sat down and watched, occasionally snapping pictures of his progress.
I moved a few sticks that were slowing him down but nothing stopped him. Not twig barriers, and not, apparently, inedible flowers, not tall blades of grass and absolutely not me. I'm not sure that he was even aware that I existed. I was merely a very large cloud blocking out the sun I think.
I didn't say a word and if he did, I didn't hear it. He had a mission which was to eat as much of the back lawn as caterpillarly possible so that he would have a full enough tummy to sustain him through the chrysalis time and was solely focused upon that.
He munched as he crawled, he nibbled as he climbed, he tasted as he made his way. Nothing and nobody was going to stop him from his goal. Certainly not the likes of me. I admired his bright colours and fuzzy hairs and I could not resist. I had to experimentally find out if the orange bits were spikey or soft. Answer? Soft. I touched very very gently with just the tip of one finger and I do not think he even noticed.
I wondered what sort of butterfly or moth he would turn into. I debated whether a colourful caterpillar becomes a colourful butterfly or do they become the opposite when they morph? I am curious if they dream while they sleep in their little cocoon and if they do dream, what do they dream about?
I imagined what it would be like to start out in life as one sort of creature and awaken one day to be a different one entirely. Who teaches them to fly? How do they know to build that little nest? I never see caterpillar families with moms and dads teaching the babies what to do. Neither have I even noticed butterfly or moth mentors explaining how to rest while their wings dry as soon as they emerge and then instructing them about important things such as wind currents and the dangers of rotten kids who enjoy capturing beautiful things and doing unspeakable things to them.
Nature is endlessly captivating, fascinating, wonderous and amazing. And I suppose I haven't really outgrown the drifty, fanciful child within me because I will never regret the time I spent, sitting in the backyard, camera in hand, admiring the travels of a caterpillar.
Time not wasted at all.
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.