When I first moved here I was amazed by the monarch butterflies that were (are!) seemingly everywhere. Here, you can watch the whole thing from small caterpillar to BIG, FAT CATERPILLAR, to crysallis, to butterfly.
I’m sure we had them where I grew up – but not plentiful enough for me to find and watch the process.
We had a branch of a swan plant inside, with a crysallis. This was to protect the crysallis from the wasps that would gladly eat it. When the butterfly has emerged and dried its wings, we would take it outside.
I was new to the process, and one of the first butterflies we “saved” this way I accidentally touched the body. It immediately released the rest of the fluid it needed to extend its wings. It never recovered, and it died, to my sorrow.
Fast forward to today, as my children & I walked to school. We found a butterfly on the footpath, its wings not completely dry yet. If we left it where it was, an unsuspecting person would likely step on it. And so, mindfully careful of where I touched the butterfly, I reached down and encouraged it to climb up on my hand.
The kids were thrilled. I explained what I was doing and why, and they asked if we could take the butterfly into the classroom. I told them I wasn’t sure the butterfly would stay with us that long, but we’d let him rest on my hand until we got there, for sure.
My son, the butterfly expert (they had done a whole component at school about the monarchs) informed me it was a female monarch (because it had spots).
We walked and chatted, but, as I expected, the butterfly fluttered away before we got to the school. My daughter watched where it went. And I felt better, because this time I had saved the butterfly.