Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars
if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.
--from Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Just yesterday, more than a dozen small black-striped caterpillars
appeared on my small parsley plant.
I had never seen them when they were that small before,
nor had I ever seen that many.
Perhaps that means this will be a good year for butterflies.
When the caterpillars get big, they are a bright tomato green
with black horizontal stripes and yellow markings.
Already by this morning, they had grown a lot:
I only noticed them this early in their development
because a beautiful blue and black butterfly--
maybe a spicebush swallowtail
or maybe an Eastern black swallowtail?--
flew in front of me and landed on the parsley.
I always find those kind of moments very magical.
Somehow everything aligns and I am there at the same instant the butterfly is,
at the very spot on earth where life is renewing itself.
Pretty exciting, actually.
Is there a deeper spiritual meaning in there somewhere?
An interesting article by Trish Phillips on the web site
explains that butterflies have traditionally held both positive and negative symbolism.
Phillips says that the butterfly symbolized the soul and joy in some cultures,
but in others, it symbolized death.
Today, American culture associates the butterfly with freedom, happiness,
and because the ugly caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly
that floats on air, positive transformation.
But I just like them because they are pretty!