A while ago I was walking a client out to her car and as I returned to the house I noticed a big fat caterpillar hanging about on my rue plant.
“I must get a picture of that caterpillar, it is so interesting,” I said to myself. ”I wonder what kind it is?” So I went to Google to figure it out, and found out it was the caterpillar of the Giant Swallowtail butterfly.
Then my client came for her massage, so no image was acquired, and when she left I went to get a picture and the caterpillar was GONE. Disappeared. I accused the grackles in the area of eating it.
This is what it looked like. I found this image using Google and borrowed it from Bugfolks.
A while later, one of my observant clients pointed to something hanging right by the front door and wondered what it was.
“Oh!” I replied, quite pleased. ”That is the chrysalis of a giant swallowtail butterfly.” Mentally I apologized to the grackles for the murder accusation I had leveled their way previously. I also congratulated my client on spotting the thing, as it really was quite well camouflaged.
I had no trouble identifying it, since it looked exactly like the caterpillar only it was all folded up. It even shared the “bird dropping” coloration the caterpillar was notable for. I was very impressed by how much the caterpillar shrank itself in order to form the chrysalis.
Really, I have a lot to thank my clients for, because this morning when my client arrived her first words were, ”There’s a butterfly out here. I think it might be hurt.”
I looked out the door, and there on the wall right under the chrysalis was a giant swallowtail butterfly in the process of pumping fluid into its wings, having just freshly emerged from the now empty chrysalis. I quickly let my client know exactly what she was seeing, called my mother from the living room (she had stopped by to visit me) to come admire, and left her explaining to my client about how butterflies have to move fluid into their new wings, which is why she was pumping them back and forth in the manner which made my client think perhaps she was wounded while I went and grabbed my camera.
One minute later: Notice how the left tail has already gotten bigger in this image, and how much the lower wings have expanded.
“Would you care to step up onto my finger?” ”Yes, I believe I would.”
Meanwhile, I had sent my client into the room to prepare for the massage and my mother had bid me adieu and gone off to finish her errands in town.
The butterfly liked being on my hand. It walked all over it, flexing its brand new wings all the while, and proceeded to promenade up my arm almost to my shoulder. I had to do a massage, my client (bless her heart) was patiently waiting in the massage room while I disported myself in the garden with the butterfly. It didn’t want to leave my hand, but I finally convinced it to dismount onto my aster plant.
Here is another little magic. This is her ventral side. How such a black butterfly can have such a pale “other” side is just magical to me.
After the massage was over, I went out to see how she was doing. She was still resting on the aster, and I thought maybe I’d get another shot. But as soon as she saw me moving down the steps, she flew away. Our transitory connection was over, but I shall treasure the feeling of her feet clinging to my fingers as she walked all over my hand.
Hope there is something magical going on in your life today, too.