I was lucky to pass by the caterpillar just as he shed his skin. You can see it in a little heap below him. It was fascinating to watch him wiggle around, much as I do when I go to bed and try to get comfortable for a good night’s sleep. I think the butterflies should begin to emerge this week.
In a November post, Comminatory Weather and the Big Save, I described how I saved two Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars from a hard freeze in my garden. One didn’t make it, but the other formed a chrysalis which has rested on the soil of a dried out pot of dill for several months.
I left it alone for the most part, only dripping a bit of water on it now and then when I watered my plants. Today when I entered the room and checked on my garden seedlings, something fluttered and flew off the pot; I knew right away the caterpillar had changed into a butterfly.
I extended a finger, nudged his legs, and he walked on. If he had emerged in the midst of cold weather I would have tried to craft several fake flowers connected to jars of sugar water for him to survive on, but since it has warmed up and there are many flowers and trees blooming, I knew outdoors was his best chance.
I took him to the garden and gently let him move onto the edge of a daffodil. He looked happy until I moved and then he flew about twenty feet out into the yard. He flew fine, but it seemed one of his bottom wings was not quite extended all the way. He rested on the grass for quite awhile, flying now and then several feet one way then another. Suddenly, he extended his wings, flew, and was quickly out of sight. I was thrilled. Every day is blessed when it contains a small miracle or two. Part 2 of my small miracle day will be posted tomorrow.