- Kimberly B. Hambor
I have recently been enjoying the amazing Monarch Butterfly lifecycle as it takes place in my garden. Last year I noticed the colorful orange and black butterflies landing on a large Scarlet Milkweed plant that I had planted in a nice sunny location. Every day about noon the butterflies would come. Each one would come over the treeline and make their way to the bright red and orange flowers. They would have a nice lunch of nectar and float gingerly away off to who knows where. After the Milkweed produced it's white fluffy seeds I stuffed them in all my flower pots including my bonsai.
I pretty much forgot all about them until this winter I noticed the Milkweed plant was looking pretty bare and I took a closer look and it was covered in yellow, black and white caterpillars.
I remembered that they were the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar although I had never seen one in person. They had eaten all of the leaves on the entire plant. I started to look for more Milkweed around the yard and it was coming up in all of my flower pots. I brought some pots near the other plant so they had more to eat. It was so interesting to watch them eat and grow and find more Milkweed. They would eat it right down to the stem and then suck on the end of the stem.
I found a brand new butterfly one day that was still clinging to the shell of what was it's chrysalis. I started looking at the plant that it was attached to and I noticed 3 more empty shells. It was simply miraculous to me that this could happen. Imagine waking up one day with wings!
Watching these creatures change in such a short time in such a drastic way just amazes me. God is amazing. Who would believe that this could happen if you tried to use words to describe it? It is almost unbelievable. A beautiful butterfly lays an egg and the egg hatches and out comes a tiny caterpillar. It eats and eats then it chooses a living plant to attach itself and turns into a blob of liquidy looking goo and then into a hard protective case. Inside it is transformed into something that is truly just so detailed and perfect. It has the knowledge of what to do and where to go all inside and it's little feathers and fluff around it's face and the tiny little claws at the ends of it's wirey long legs are all perfectly designed.
Here is what the caterpillar looks like as it changes into a chrysalis.
On New Year's Day, soon after the sun came up, I noticed one of the chrysalis that I had been watching turned brown. I could see the orange and black wings beneath the shiny protective coating. I set up my camera and could hardly believe my eyes when the butterfly began to emerge. It seemed like a sign to me that this was going to be an amazing new year.
Watch the video to see this beautiful new creation.