The Last of my Monarchs... For Now

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” -anonymous

The monarch butterfly’s annual migration south to Mexico typically begins in early fall in the north when the days grow shorter and the nights cooler. For me, the fall is an introspective season, a time to prepare for the winter ahead. Over the past summer I’ve raised dozens of monarchs. It was inspiring to watch the monarch grow from a microscopic egg to a caterpillar, then to climb to the top of the aquarium to form an amazing, jewel-like chrysalis the color of jade. Then, finally, to witness the magical metamorphosis and celebrate as it emerged a butterfly. On Halloween it was bittersweet to release my last butterfly in my garden.

Or so I thought. After several blustery days, courtesy of Hurricane Ida, we enjoyed a balmy sunny day on Isle of Palms. As I did garden chores, my eyes widened in surprise when I found several tiny, newly hatched caterpillars chomping away on my milkweed plants! Delighted, I brought them indoors to my butterfly habitat. I see them now outside my office window on my screened porch. To think…In a few weeks I will again witness the miracle of metamorphosis.

This last, late, and unexpected batch of monarch caterpillars was a gift. A second chance for inspiration. Last week’s sudden blast of cold came too quick and my mood grew depressed at the thought of the end of my summer season. Now, however, I’ve been inspired to take advantage of this quieter, introspective season. If I see my time indoors as a chrysalis, I am inspired to effectively use this duration as a period of growth and transformation. I choose to withdraw from distractions and to go inward, quietly and with reflection. I will use this as a time to create something new.

And when the days grow long again and the sun warms the earth, I hope I will emerge transformed to greet the return of my sister butterfly, my own creativity shining as bright and vivid as wings the color of flames.

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All the best,
Mary Alice