Wednesday, July 29, 2015

float like a butterfly, sting like a caterpillar

When bloggers have little to say, they often troop out inside procedural statistics that are meaningful only to those of us who have the write-and-post obsession.

Today, I do have something to say.  But I am still going to trot a few numbers by you.

The year was 2008.  The month was September.  It would be another seven months before my sainted brother; the decrepit, but loyal, Professor Jiggs, and I would board the Escape for our trip to Mexico.

A fellow blogger, who resides in Morelia, had just sent me an email recounting an encounter with a stinging caterpillar in her garden.  As a fan of National Geographic, I, of course, knew that many insects have self-defense mechanisms that rival those of an infantry brigade.  But I never thought of them living in my new home.

Thus was born a little essay (sting like a butterfly, float like a caterpillar) that has continually topped the most-accessed list on my blog .  The title has always been a bit misleading.  After all, it was the caterpillar that did the stinging.  Seven years later, I may have set the title straight.  (And I will still get Google hits with my side car attached to Muhammed Ali's famous phrase.)

But why am I disinterring a tale of a caterpillar who long ago pupated?  Because I found this in my garden as I was cleaning up the debris from our recent wind storm.

I have no idea what this guy's destiny is.  I tried researching on my favorite butterfly and moth identification site, but I could not find anything similar.

What I do know is that I had no desire to touch him.  Considering my 8-year old love of things crawly, I am surprised I didn't pick him up and put him in a jar.

Instead, I let him make his way up the planter into the greenery.  And, yes, I know, he is now going to lunch on the leaves of my vine.  At least, that is a good possibility.  But there are plenty of leaves.  In the process, I may get a butterfly.

Or I may get stung.  I regularly dig through the vine to gather dead leaves before they fall to the courtyard floor.  Without gloves.

One of these days, I will undoubtedly fail to recognize his artful camouflage.  And, just like the stinging ants that surprised my fingers in the same planter, I will wonder why I did not take matters in hand when I had an opportunity.

I know why.  There is a bit of Harold Hill in me.  I always have hope there is a butterfly.

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