The air is crisper now as the harvest moon lights up the night sky.
The eclectic jungle of mine own plantings and that of natures intermingling is running wild and falling all over itself.
I have only two Monarch caterpillars not yet morphed into their pupa phase, while I am daily releasing others that have fallen into their new wings. After slurping up their fill of nectar from around the gardens and dodging the dangerous beaks of birds, butterflies are flying south . . . Mexico bound.
I still recall the excitement of seeing the tiny ones emerge from their finely etched egg casings.
Onto a hairy landscape of Milkweed.
Devouring its first meal . . . a protective now nourishing capsule.
I marvel at how quickly they grow from instar to instar.
Becoming more voracious eaters as they come closer to their final act.
Nearly most of the summer has been filled with their wondrous antics and growth spurts. I have admired their courage too. Letting go when it is necessary to grow further is an important lesson these tiger-striped critters teach me over and again. They are gingerly about it sometimes and this one was no exception, holding on with only one proleg for over two hours, before finally allowing itself to fall head first into its new life.
Pulling up their familiar skin and trying to toss it free reveals a new beginning which was always within them.
Times of stillness recur within any metamorphosis.
Fresh in every way . . . new beginnings soon to fly . . . lighting up the sky.
I recall fondly too the first Black Swallowtail butterfly egg I ever eyed.
I delighted in getting to know the spritely fellow whose changes are more dramatic than my Monarch friends in wardrobe but not in speed of growth.
I was very surprised to see this happen as I had thought to winter over with the chrysalis.
I have offered two post on raising the Black Swallowtail. Here is the first . . . the second was just published today over at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens.
Out in the garden Fritillary butterflies played out their lives unseen by me until their debut in fancy dress.
Another first for me this summer . . . a Buckeye (Junonia coenia!) What a treat to finally see and capture this beauty in my own garden. They sure do not hold still for long.
Buckeyes migrate too and my 'Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies' tells me that in the fall around Cape May their numbers rival those of the migrating Monarchs.
So summer here is flying by but these images remind me of some sweet moments with delicate creatures who are not afraid to let go and change.
We can all be inspired by their tenacity and beauty.