Sunshine, A Caterpillar, and A Surprise Ending...

One unseasonably warm and sunny afternoon, I was earlier than I anticipated to pick up my daughter from school. The commute is a bit of a crap shoot as far as traffic is concerned, so I tend to air on the cautious side. I decided to drive through Eldorado Canyon and take a walk with my youngest daughter, GL. I've been visiting this same trail for over 15 years. It's one of my favorites, a very soft approach, just a small incline, a hand built bridge that crosses a creek, and plenty of trees to provide a bit of reprieve from the sun.

Early afternoon sun is the favorite part of my day, it's the peak of the heat. Especially in October, afternoon sunshine in Colorado is something that just lures you in. The sun's rays whisper to you like a spoon dripping with honey, soak me up.

Vitamin D deficiency, not in Colorado.

As we were heading off towards the bridge, to hang our feet and watch the falling leaves cascade down the creek, I noticed something on the trail out of the corner of my eye. It was fuzzy and moving slowly. I stopped mid trail, a little cloud of dust dispersed and I looked down to see the most interesting caterpillar. We are gatherers in our family, we find something interesting in nature, we collect it. We have a policy to always return it. GL requested we bring it to share with her big sister. I obliged. But we promised to return it the next day.

Little wiggly, ticklish, squirmy caterpillar joined us on the rest of our hike. Joined us in the car. It escaped a few times and I found it once crawling on the passenger seat. Sj was delighted with our find, she called it Mother Nature's treasure. We discussed the details of it's safe return to the exact location the following day.

When we arrived home, we built "Catty" a proper home in an old jar. We added some rocks, dirt, water, a few branches, leaves, and grass. As always, with any treasure we find the caterpillar spent the night on the girls' night stand.

Although we awoke to a bit of a surprise.

Catty didn't sleep that night, Catty must have been busy all night. Catty literally transformed in a 8 hour period. We woke to Catty, in her new form:
The fibers of the chrysalis were clearly Catty's former feathery self. If the light hits the chrysalis just right you can see the body of Catty, flesh tone like a skinny worm. Gone is her beautiful plume to create her next stage of life.

Enter my dilemma.

Catty was discovered in October. From what I've gathered on lovely websites such as Joyful Butterfly, the chrysalis phase is only a week or two long. Not a month or two. So I now sit here in regret, knowing Catty curled up and died in a Peppermint candy jar from Cost Plus World Market. This may sound silly, but I just don't have the heart to let her go. Instead Catty sits on a bookshelf in our living room.

Yes rather odd, I know.

I just can't help but hold out hope that just some day we'll wake to a beautiful butterfly...


  1. Maybe you should take Catty to a vet for a check up. I hope that she butterflies!

  2. Today Molly and I decided to keep her now dried-up, dead hermit crab Smiley in her room. We have such good memories...

  3. Aww, that is sad. But kind of cool that you got to see this part of the transformation.

  4. How do you know that Catty is dead?


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