A tiny egg, one of thousands, is attached tightly to the underside of one leaf, on one tree in a forest of many. Just one tiny egg. Its translucent shell yields a glimpse of the precious life waiting to be born. Many never make it out into the real world but this egg is special; it has a purpose to fulfil.
As the early sun filters down through the tree canopy the tiny caterpillar finally emerges and her story begins. Searching, consuming to grow and survive in a world that could so easily consume her, she begins a journey of discovery. With each instar change, the old is shed and the new is reformed, growing with the goodness provided by the sun’s rays on the leaves. Finally she reaches the end of this stage, many of her siblings have not made it this far but fate decides what is meant to be. Her tiny wings not yet visible are longing to fly but first she must rest. She ceases to feed and wanders in the quest for a safe haven to complete her transformation. The sky is blue above as the sun guides her way to the sturdy oak leaf that will be her home through this vulnerable time.
Anchoring there, her hard chrysalis protects as she absorbs all the valuable nutrients to allow her tiny wings to grow, pleated and flimsy beneath the hard case. The oak leaf gently swings with the breeze as she awaits her metamorphosis.
She is becoming who she was always meant to be. With the rising of the sun, she is ready to face the world again. Tentatively she emerges and crawls to the top of the leaf, unfurling her new wings she offers them up in thanks to the warm rays above. Not long now, patience is always her way. The sun warms and dries her colourful wings and soon she is ready to fly.
A new world is calling, a world beyond the old oak tree, beyond the edge of the forest. And further beyond, the wild flowers sway in the meadow, their delicate petals breathe beauty as they reach for the light. Entranced she flaps her wings and flies on the breeze yearning to sip their sweet nectar. Her antennae sense the air revelling in the abundance of scents on the wind. Finally she alights on a flower; they share the same love, the bountiful sun. As she sates her thirst she gives thanks for the kindness, collecting a small dusting of pollen to disperse on her way. She is aware of the fine balance of survival in this world and will never forget the first flowers who gave her the means to fly.
This is just the start of her new life. Maybe she will float the breeze to new meadows of endless blooms, maybe she’ll migrate to far off lands. Her future is a mystery but for now she’s happy to fly free and dance in the meadow of sunshine and hope.
Original artwork by Christine Southworth @bearprintstudio