(This happened on September 5, 2018)
This morning I went to visit Brenda
Brenda and her husband Fred and I chatted over the after-breakfast table (I snagged a couple of bacon slices…sigh)
Fred left to work around the farm, while Brenda and I went for a wild ride in her 4-wheel farm utility vehicle, her two dogs ran around us, baying at the fun
Brenda confidently took the vehicle off the road, onto field edges, through woods on vague paths with tree branches whipping, trying to pull us out
She showed me what oak trees look like, ash trees, maple trees, and her personal big-rock-patches (piles of rocks), and she found an old hickory nut for me
She stopped so I could run a fox-tail weed head through my hands, so soft
We saw butterflies, white, yellow, and then a monarch… and
Brenda took off to hunt for milkweed, the plant that monarchs lay their eggs on
She drove back over the field edges, but no milkweeds, drove slowly down to her mail box, looking intently at all the weeds at the side of the road.
I learned what Stinging Nettle looks like ( I have the dried leaves in tea bags!), still no milkweeds.
She turned around and drove back past the chicken coop, then abruptly stopped
Milkweed on my side!
She got out while I hung out the side of the vehicle to investigate the milkweed (now I know what it looks like)
Found one with a gorgeous monarch caterpillar, about 1 1/2 inches long, stocky, with a variety of colored bands wrapped around its body
We wondered, if we stretched out the caterpillar, if those bands would look more like monarch colors, but we only wondered
We soaked up the beautiful creature into our memories (didn’t have the camera)
Then Brenda drove further looking for possible chrysalises of the teenagers incubating into butterflies but
I was very hungry, lunch time, feeling like the caterpillar–gotta eat
Brenda drove back around to her house, the dogs looking exhausted but satisfied, and we said goodbye as I got into my car, with a smile on my face
I saw a monarch caterpillar. Me.