A Monarch Infestation

Jul 1, 2021 | Blog, Essays

In the course of busy, we were interrupted by unexpected visitors.

At the most, we tend to only find three or four Monarch caterpillars on our milkweed. This year, there were close to twenty. And a month early, to boot!

They ate all but four branches of my milkweed bush. (And made mountains of caterpillar compost.)

We could hardly keep up with the food demand. They’d eat all the leaves and blossoms throughout the night, no matter how many branches we’d put in there.

And then one day, they all cocooned.

We were mesmerized by the idea of the metamorphosis taking place within the beautiful jade and gold pods.

And then one day we saw wings.

The butterflies emerged and began the process of inflating their tiny wings from the fluid stored in their abdomen.

They hung from their former encasings which now looked like chrysalis ghosts.

They remained still until their wings dried.

It wasn’t long until they were fluttering about the enclosure, ready to re-enter the world with their new bodies.

We took them out to what was left of the plant on which we had first found them so that they could be free.

One by one, they fluttered their brand new wings until they were ready to take flight. Each rising into the air and drifting away on the wind, stopping only to wave goodbye to us as we watched from our living room window.

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