The Gift of the Butterfly

There it was… we finally saw it. It was breathtaking to see our mature caterpillar emerged into its glorious self – a beautiful Giant Swallowtail butterfly. It was a gift to see it.

Every year, my Sweetheart and I put our indoor tropical plants out side for the summer. We have two fig trees as well as a lime, lemon and orange tree. They get shocked by the cool spring Ottawa weather and then recover – their foliage as beautiful as ever.

This spring we noticed that our lime tree leaves seemed to have deposits of bird poop. Upon further inspection we deemed them to be caterpillars.


We reached out to our friends on social media to find out what it was a caterpillar to. To our astonishment, our friends identified it as the Giant Swallowtail –  which does love to munch on citrus leaves.

Sure enough as the caterpillar grew it was clearly what it was identified to be. It reached of length of two inches. It could not be described as cute – maybe even ugly. But we had grown fond of the little creature in seeing it grow.


One morning we came out and could not find it. We assumed it had gone off to form its chrysalis. We also figured that we would never see its wondrous transformation into a Giant Swallowtail.


We had just parked the car in the driveway returning from a Hatha Yoga practice…when it flew by the car. We jumped out of the car and beheld the fully grown Giant Swallowtail butterfly as it fluttered around our citrus plants. Our mouths gaping open in surprise, we admired its flight and appreciated its presence.

Butterflies are often cited in analogies of personal transformations. You can certainly see why. Before it was a little ugly caterpillar, it had gone away for a time, and then returned as a glorious butterfly – beauty in flight and sight.

There were two aspects about transformation that I noted from this experience. The first is that it takes time. The caterpillar chose its time to transform. It took whatever time it needed to transform out of the chrysalis into a butterfly. The butterfly chose its time to makes its transformation known to us.

The second is surprise. We were surprised and a little sad when the caterpillar disappeared. We were surprised and gleeful at its appearance as a butterfly. Transformation from an onlookers point-of-view is a surprise. Just as we were surprised to discover the caterpillar,  we were surprised when it fluttered in as a butterfly – then fluttered out in goodbye. His visit was a special moment- a gift – to be appreciate in the present.

One comment

  1. What a beautiful site. I have just begun to seriously investigate yoga, for myself as part of successful aging, but also for my younger wife who has a rare terminal cancer that is challenging her quality of life.

    Thank you for the wisdom and beauty of your blogs.


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