Early Sunday afternoon, I was standing in the doorway of my Tallahassee home, sending Niko off to work at the rock gym. I glanced up at the trinkets arranged by the foyer, and there he was – Baby Cap has emerged from his cocoon and is now a gorgeous Black Swallowtail butterfly. Many readers will remember the adorable caterpillar whose life I chronicled for weeks until he reached pupation.
Baby Cap, as he was dubbed, has traveled with me all over the midwest. His projected ‘birth’ date was to occur during my two-week climbing trip to Wyoming and Colorado with the boys – so naturally, I took him with me. Baby Cap traveled through Kansas and Oklahoma; he hung out in the crisp mountain air at Horseshoe Canyon Range; he even visited the Grand Teton National Park. Any adventure we experienced during the road trip was shared with Baby Cap.
He didn’t hatch at any point during the trip, so we returned together to the lazy city of Tallahassee. Weeks, then months passed, yet Baby Cap remained in his brown cocoon. It has been a total of six months since he entered his process of metamorphosis. Everyone around me has long since abandoned hope for my little buddy. Friends asked why I still kept the jar around, and when I planned on finally throwing it away. I knew he was probably dead, but I couldn’t give up on him.
Then, without warning, he emerged to a cold Sunday afternoon. Releasing him was undoubtedly the most amazing experience I have ever had with a creature. While Niko ran to grab both of my cameras, I coaxed his little body out from the mason jar in which I kept his chrysalis. His black body was still a bit curled, and his wings were dipped in powder. We brought him into the backyard, and rested him on my milkweed plant. After hanging out with us for a while, Baby Cap stretched out his wings for a final time, then soared out through the backyard and into the afternoon sky.
Naturally, I took a million pictures. Here are the best:
How’s that for a little Monday Motivation?