An Incomplete Story

This garden scene of a Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, emerging from its transformational home is incomplete.  I’m sure at some point, I observed and snapped a photo of the chrysalis, all on its own, but I didn’t witness the initial breakthrough into the world by the new adult, wings not quite ready, as it climbed out of its crib.  Before that?  There was a many-legged caterpillar, inching its way, up and down and all around, the vine that fed the insect in its infancy.

It’s obviously making progress, but stretching is a necessity.


Free from sequestering, the new butterfly rests.

It moves, just a little, finding a comfortable spot, taking a breather. 


Wings not entirely unfurled, the butterfly relies on legs, much like it once did, in youth.


As wings dry, curls relax.  

I didn’t see this butterfly’s final stage of emergence–wings dried and spread–nor its first flight from the nursery.   Even so, this one is ready to fly, ready to pollinate, ready for the next phase of life.  It looks determined.

An incomplete story, but complete enough.

I’m joining with Anna and her Wednesday Vignette.  Pop over to Flutter and Hum for garden, and other, stories.

34 thoughts on “An Incomplete Story

  1. What a wonderful thing to see. I love those cute fritillaries (plus their name makes me a little hungry for fritters!)


      • OH my, thank you so much!! I have benefited much from reading your blog over the years, so I’m happy to provide something in return (even if it’s ridiculous!)


      • Oh, I think it’s charming! I just realized that you’re from Houston, I guess I hadn’t noticed that before. We’re neighbors!!


  2. My heavens — what a wonderful series of photos, Tina! That last image is so nice, with the vertical lines of the wall matched up with the butterfly. Their perfection is something to see when they’re new. I haven’t seen many this spring, but believe me — all that I’ve seen have been around the block a time or two!


    • Thank you, Linda! I really like that last shot, both for the lines but also (anthropomorphizing here) the “look” of determination. 🙂

      I’m always stunned at the beauty of newly emerged butterflies: the richness of the color and vibrancy of the various markings. It always takes my breath away!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. SO beautiful… you take the most fantastic photos, Tina! And I can’t get over how all of that can fit in that little chrysalis. No wonder it needs to rest after emerging. That must have been quite an ordeal to make it through.


  4. The succession of magnificent photos from when the Gulf Fritillary is emerging from its chrysalis until it is ready to fly are extraordinary and wonderful, I love them. Your garden is a true refuge for wildlife. Tina sorry that I have not written in your blogs but I am not in a good mood or health. I have a few days with pain in the ears and throat and body: a cold. The last three days in bed until 6:00 p.m. Today I am worse but I have got up much earlier. I hope the Covid-19 is not very strong in your area of Texas. I trust that you and your husband are in good health and safe. Take good care of both of you and keep yourself safe. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.


    • Thank you, Margarita. My husband and I are well, but I want you to rest and take care of yourself. If you can, see a doctor, but please be safe and let me know how you’re doing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tina thank you very much for your concern. It is only a cold, today I feel better. I’m so glad that you and your husband are doing well. We will all take good care of ourselves. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita 😘


    • Well, the Monarch is the queen of butterflies, right? It’s the one everyone knows about, but all of them are gorgeous and have the most remarkable life cycles. Glad you enjoyed!!


  5. That’s a good emergent sequence.

    The other day I had a brainstorm, triggered by the sight of a butterfly. I thought it would be fun to give a person’s weight not in pounds but in butterflies. The average monarch weighs about half a gram, so a 100-lb. person weighs approximately 91,000 monarch butterflies.


    • Lol. I think I’d like the “butterflies” part of the metric (such a pretty word, compared to pounds) , but the number, sheesh, that’s much greater than the number is as it stands for now. I think I’ll stick to pounds and just watch the butterflies in the garden.


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