Thirteen Shades of Orange!

Baby

One of the G.F. (Gulf Fritillary) cats (caterpillars) is now a chrysalis. It is Friday, May 22, 2015. While counting the rest of the cats, I find a second chrysalis with no idea when it formed. It seems to have appeared out of the magical unseen. There are a total of nine C & C (cats and chrysalides) I’m keeping track of with a mark on the calendar on when to expect a butterfly to emerge in great hope I can see the miracle.

Chrysalis

On Saturday, May 23, 2015, I find another G.F. in the head down ‘J’ position in early morning. My photo shows another cat in the background. By late morning the ‘J’ cat is almost a complete chrysalis. I can still see his caterpillariness as he moves and twists. These cats have done a number on the passion vine. I will need to take cuttings and start more plants as this population boom continues.

J

I read about using a large pickle jar as a temporary incubator so I can see the butterfly emerge without having to move leaves and stand on my head. On second thought, I would prefer a net enclosure like the ones that display the cats and chrysalides and butterflies so beautifully at The Butterfly Estates. Their setup is topnotch and they explain information in a way that encourages everyone who visits to want to try creating a habitat at home. I check a few stores and find exactly what I’m looking for! I would have preferred white, but it’s navy blue, as close to perfect as I can get.

I really like how the butterfly cage has a zippered top and zippered side which allow me to trim a branch with a cat, or use a small potted host plant with a cat, put both in the net enclosure until he forms his chrysalis. I can release the butterfly within a few hours of emerging and have the pleasure to watch him fly. It’s sort of selfish, but since they don’t seem to be on my schedule and I’m not on theirs, we compromise.

A small plastic puddling dish with rocks and sand is now buried near the nectar plants. Eventually I’d like to get something more like a birdbath dish to give the flying wanderers a place to rest their weary wings and puddle together. It would be fun to see their antics.

Sunday, May 24, 2015, One of the cats didn’t make it. I notice a very thick silk attachment and just the molted ‘skin’ of the cat. I did not see him there before now. The evidence is down low in the plant near the soil. Usually they don’t get that close to the soil. The fourth G.F. is in J mode. I account for all five cats and the other three chrysalides, not counting the deceased one. The cats are eating ravenously and from their size, about two inches long, will most likely form their chrysalides tomorrow. As I look over the damage to the poor passion vine, I discover four new cats! Thirteen total, and I’m certain I have not found them all.

Baby 2

Copyright Patricia Westbrook All Rights Reserved

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‘Transitions’

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‘Transitions’ became the first of many poems I continue to write regarding the transfer of the soul from this world. For me, it is not about religion. It is not about science. It is about faith in the Universe. It is about the nature of things. It’s about energy.

Much has been written about this topic. Energy does not disappear, but evolves into another form. I believe this to be true of all living creatures, including humans, animals, and plants. I believe it to be true of all elements that make up our world.

Birth and death and everything in between are natural progressions of life. It is so interesting how happy we are when a baby is born and how sad we are when a loved one dies. This is natural.

Though inevitable as life itself, death in our culture carries a certain habit of fear of the unknown for the dying and an enormous feeling of loss and abandonment for those left behind. It challenges us no matter that our religious beliefs or faith-based spirituality prepares us for all of it. This is a deep disconnect in our beliefs and psyche. Not all cultures are so disconnected.

When my own parents passed, I knew in my heart they had a long and (mostly) happy life. They were elderly. I knew their time was coming and mentally prepared myself. I also know my mother was afraid. I felt her fear in her last hug. She did not want to let me go. This was three weeks before she transitioned.

Grief takes on many forms and is as individual as each of us. There is no right way to grieve. I became extremely ill right after mom died and was bedridden for two days with a fever and cough that would not quit.

Their deaths still hit me like a fist in the stomach. It was my longing for them that brought me grief. They had been in my life forever. I missed them deeply.

Elephants and other creatures show grief and loss. This has been well documented. I watched tearfully as a young doe grieved for her sister I had just shot during hunting season many years ago. I can still hear her bleating when I think about it. I felt like a horrible person for having killed her. I haven’t picked up a weapon since.

What I have learned in life is that grief is a necessary process. It takes the time it takes. We cry, feel lost and alone, cry some more, and eventually move forward. This is key to healing, but being stuck in grief is no way to live our lives. Our loved ones would never want us to remember and honor them in this way, though some of us just cannot move past it. Our lives become crippled by death.

‘Transitions’ was written for a coworker a few years ago who lost someone. I believe that the spirit never dies. I believe energy always transforms into something else. Our universe is made of energy in flux, always moving and changing. We are no different from the world around us. We are part of the endless cosmos.

When the time comes, I hope I will welcome it, but I might fight death. I really don’t know until I’m in the moment. I don’t feel afraid to die, but that does not mean I want to die. I intend to cross the veil in my sleep approximately two to three decades from now. Peacefully. I fully expect a smooth transition.

When I die, I know I will see my loved ones again. I’ve had dreams and visions of our reunion. All family, friends, and pets will be the welcoming committee, with the pets out front. They are the unconditional lovers. It will be a coming home party of the grandest kind.

Death? Eh, it happens, just like birth. I didn’t fret about coming into this world and I’m not going to fret about exiting from it. I’m going to embrace the possibility of change, of transitioning into something new. A rebirth of spirit. It’s the only way I know how to live.

What about you?  I’d really like to read about your thoughts and insights about transitioning. Thanks for reading.