In our last episode of Caterpillars in the Garden, we had swallowtails on our parsley in 2008. Hoping to attract them again, I faithfully kept a parsley patch, but nobody came. The parsley has migrated around the backyard: jumped the stone walkway, hidden under the picnic table, and I gave up. I don't have any control over who comes to grow there, but I do still have hope. Last year we saw one caterpillar; the next day it was gone.
In the first episode, two caterpillars made it to the chrysalis stage. We could tell when they were going to emerge because the chrysalis became transparent and we could see the folded wings inside! A young family was visiting the day the first one was ready. I kept calling the girl over until finally we watched it emerge. She, in the age of the single digits, was both impatient and did not seem that impressed. I, in middle age, who had never seen this event before, was excited. There should be a word for when you know you've witnessed something important and rare and the person next to you takes it for granted. It's not quite wistful or knowing or disappointed or eager or nagging or demanding or delighted or awestruck or wonderfilled. But some kind of combination.
At the time, I made a book about it. Unfortunately, I didn't make very many. It was called Those Who Wait Can Walk Through Walls. It's a simple folded X-book, with a few alterations, tucked into a folded chyrsalis-shaped-window envelope. You have to peek inside to read the text. (photo: Sibila Savage)
Last week, I examined the parsley for the millionth time. The caterpillars are showing up again. This one came first, living on a renegade parsley between two pots by the picnic table. (Taken with a magnifying lens)
I found two later, and they are younger, judging from their instar stage. Here is one. (magnified also)
It's so nice to think about something aside from the news. We hope the story begins again. But we don't have any control over certain aspects of nature. Stay tuned.