Scott’s Thoughts: Monarch in Training

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”

-Richard David Bach (born 1936), American writer

Image of monarch butterfly

There’s a lot the caterpillar of the monarch butterfly doesn’t know.

Feasting only on milkweed plants for two weeks, the monarch caterpillar soon finds itself compelled to spin a silk chrysalis. Once encased and hanging by its forelegs, perhaps the caterpillar has a sense its life is over. It knows nothing of the transformation ahead, of the two weeks it will spend in a suspension, a period of time which equals its entire life to date.

The caterpillar doesn’t know it will become one of the most recognized butterflies in the world.

The caterpillar doesn’t know it will be one of the few insects capable of incredible migration, in some cases crossing the Atlantic. Migrations which are so long, they exceed the lifespan of the average Monarch, and are finished across generations of Monarchs.

The caterpillar doesn’t know that as a monarch, it will be greatly protected from predators by compounds in the milkweed it ate as a larva.

Sometimes we don’t know why we’re struggling. Sometimes we don’t know the distances we’ll be capable of going. Sometimes we don’t know how the hard, early lessons will protect us in the long run. Sometimes we don’t realize the recognition we’ll receive when we finally emerge.

If times come when you’re barely hanging on and you feel like it’s the end, hang in there. The world is full of miraculous surprises. Perhaps you are the next monarch in training.

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