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14 September 2012

Our friend Natalie the caterpillar

A couple of weeks ago, Maren thoughtfully collected some things from around the yard to create what she thought would be the perfect habitat for a grasshopper. She carried around her grasshopper house for several days, never quite finding the perfect inhabitant.

And then, last week, Natalie appeared out of nowhere right in our front entryway. Natalie was a beautiful, fuzzy, yellow caterpillar and swiftly became Maren's infatuation special friend for the day. Never mind that the house was meant for a grasshopper, it was easily adapted to be the perfect dwelling for Natalie the caterpillar. We watched her crawl around. We watched her curl up in a ball upon human contact. We diligently fed her a diet of leaves and grass clippings.

And then I gave Maren the bad news. Natalie could not live with us forever. In order for her to live, she needed to be let go into the 'wild'. Maren was sad, indeed, to lose the affections of such a fuzzy, small friend. But she demonstrated her true love for Natalie by willingly allowing her a chance at freedom in the big, big world of our front yard, certain that she was destined to turn into a beautiful butterfly. I didn't have the heart to tell her that Natalie was, instead, meant to become a gray, dirty, American Dagger Moth. Poor thing.

And so we said our 'goodbyes'...but not without a photo-session by which we could remember our good friend, Natalie.

Such a cozy home...aw, the pink paper was a thoughtful touch.

Maren was thrilled that Natalie took so warmly to her new front-yard-tree-habitat. And I was thrilled to avert the crisis of awakening to a dead caterpillar on my dining room table the next morning. Thank you Maren for caring so intentionally about nature. And I'll thank you, Natalie, for not returning home once you've turned into a big, gross moth.

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