A Miracle Wrapped in Green with a Golden Zipper

At the end of August, much to my great delight, I found a whole bunch of monarch caterpillars eating the leaves of the lone milkweed plant growing in our front yard. Worried they'd run out, I bicycled up the hill and brought them back some fresh milkweed. And a few days later, my husband brought back two whole plants, which he planted in a pot right next to the happy green bugs. Mangia!

We watched them eat their way out of house and home for several days, but suddenly, they all disappeared. I suspected what they were up to next, but I never saw them again. Until this day. I was out surveying our property, as I always do first thing in the morning, when I spotted this lovely green chrysalis hanging from a hydrangea leaf on the front of the hedge.

Do you see the wings forming inside it? Someday soon, this oddly shaped green thing will become a BUTTERFLY! I know, it's hard to believe, isn't it? It's truly a miracle! I have been checking it out regularly since spotting this chrysalis. I'm watching. I'm waiting. I'm looking on in wonder.

Of course, we will do everything in our power to help things along. Do you remember me telling you about the new plant I bought at the plant sale at the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore on Friday? Guess who loves that type of plant? Hummingbirds, bumblebees, and butterflies!

Guess where I planted it? RIGHT IN FRONT of the leaf where this green miracle is taking place. Maybe that fancy new purple plant - Agastache Blue Boa, also known as hummingbird mint or hyssop - will be this butterfly's first snack as a brand-new flying creature. Wouldn't that be cool?

The thing that always cracks me up when I see a chrysalis (and here I am, acting like this miracle is one I stumble across every single day) is that tiny golden zipper near the top. That's where the caterpillar climbed out of its skin, turned into a chrysalis, and zipped it shut!

Now, I have read that the process of turning from a caterpillar into a butterfly typically takes 10 to 14 days. I have no idea when this particular metamorphosis started, but I promise I will be watching the show closely each and every day, and reporting out what I see. I hope I am lucky enough to see and capture the part where the chrysalis zipper opens up, and then out steps a brand new butterfly! YOWZA!

I am impatient already. You know I can't wait. I hope all goes well. I'm also wringing my paws with worry, not unlike an expectant parent. This IS our first butterfly, after all, so you can understand, I hope. But isn't the waiting always the hardest part? *wrings paws some more; looks anxious yet hopeful*

The soundtrack: Tom Petty, featuring Eddie Vedder, with The Waiting.

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