Hanging by a Thread

I marvel at the strength and delicacy of this Pipevine swallowtail chrysalis, clinging to a crinum lily leaf, patiently awaiting emergence of new–or rather, renewed–life.

The strings tethering the insect’s temporary and transformative quarters are slender, almost invisible.  Morning light reveals their existence.

The rusty color suggests that the transmutation from caterpillar to butterfly is nearly complete.  Will I remember to check for adult emergence in coming mornings?  I hope so, because to witness the beginning of life is a nod to hope, and also to the power of the threads which bind us and those relinquished, which set us free.

Joining today with Anna and her Wednesday Vignette.   Check out her beautiful Flutter and Hum for musings of various sorts.

18 thoughts on “Hanging by a Thread

  1. Call it dumb luck, or serendipity, or whatever you please — it’s still a remarkable and delightful find. I still haven’t found a chrysalis, although I’m sure I’ve walked right past a few and not recognized them. The color of this one surprised me. I’ve always thought of them as brown and blah — this one’s anything but.

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    • I really is a great find, but I attempt to keep an eye out for chrysalises, especially this time of year when I’m deadheading and pruning back the early summer stuff. On more than one occasion, I’ve found them on some dead plant, or part of plant, and I don’t want to toss them out before they have time to morph. That said, I’m pretty sure it’s happened. The chrysalis is still there this morning, so I’ll keep checking!

      It really is a pretty color, especially against the green of the crinum leaf. I had to hold up the leaf to get the shot–it just wasn’t working when I attempted to photograph the curve of the leaf with chrysalis underneath.

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  2. Oh, that is so cool! I have a Dutchman’s pipevine growing by the back fence – now I want to rush out and check it for chrysalids and cats. To date I haven’t seen any, nor any Pipevine Swallowtails.

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    • I hope you get some, you might just need to be patient. My pipevines showed up immediately after I planted, the vine, but I’m just now seeing gulf fritillary butterflies and the passion-vine which is their host has been up and growing for well over a year.

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  3. You’ve reminded me of another time gone by. For some reason my family and I were visiting a house under construction and a crysallis had been knocked to the bare dry earth. I carefully picked it up and rolled it gently into the hem of my T-shirt to avoid crunching it accidentally before finding a more suitable container back home.
    On the car ride home, I unrolled my T-shirt hem to check on it, and there it was – starting to emerge.
    In the car, driving down the road, it came back to life and I guided it to the headrest in front of me where it hung upside down, getting acquainted with its wings.
    It flew off into the sky when we got home.
    I remember thinking it was a black swallow tail but don’t recall exactly.
    Thank you for sharing this story, it lead me to unearth mine for me.

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    • Wow–what a story!! That’s a kids’ story right there, btw. 🙂

      I knocked a pipevine chrysalis off of my patio wall earlier this summer. It was attached very low to the floor, so didn’t fall far. I left it there, it hatched, though I missed the adult’s entrance to the world.

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  4. I just read this wonderful post about a custom called telling the bees, and I thought you’d enjoy it. Have you ever heard of the custom? There’s a John Greenleaf Whittier poem called “Telling the Bees,” so it clearly has been part of American culture in the relatively recent past.

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    • Thank you so much for the link–what a great post. I chuckled when I read that if a bee gets into the house that a stranger would call. Bees are always getting into our house and no stranger ever shows up. I have become quite adept at catching bees (in a glass, with a bit of cardboard to cover) and releasing them outdoors, back to their sisters. We all have our gifts, I guess. 🙂

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