Two caterpillars accidentally became part of a plant I saved from a lawn being mowed. Passionvine tends to find its’ way where ever it wants to grow and so did the Fritillary Caterpillars. I left them to feed on the sprigs of plants that slowly died in a pitcher I put them in but in the end they survived for their final moult.

A beautifully ornate chrysalis, white with all kinds of jewelled decoration showed me they were Variegated Fritillary larvae. Unfortunately, the first one broke from its chrysalis and died in its shedding skin. I believe it was probably parasites but the second one, I was excited to see its fully formed wings drying as it beat blood through them.

I bet, there may be studies on this, that the egyptian sarcophagus was modelled after a chrysalis. It is the perfect concept of one form going to another form, in the idea of the egyptians going to the next world complete with wings. Just my thought but it seems logical.

Finally, I let the second one fly. The vibrant colors, the newness of its wings, the hope that there would be new generations, it was a beautiful, hopeful feeling.

I relate to the concept of a chrysalis, maybe it’s back to my egyptian idea but still, the idea of becoming something new. In Christianity and many religions they speak of rebirth, of breaking free from your old self and becoming more. I take it even from a simpler thought, the idea of giving up all your thorns and rough edges, eliminating the poisons of life and becoming something so much grander, it seems a beautiful idea to me especially in the great moments of change that I am experiencing.

You can be afraid of what comes out of the chyrsalis or you can be excited about teh new colors, the rich wings and the opportunities to fly higher than you ever have. I choose the the later.

We choose to be unseen but if you see us, think us dangerous
we carry our thorns on our back
we gourge ourselves with wisdoms and poisons
you need to avoid us
as we become something more

We ache for the sky
we have wings that rage inside
as we gourge ourselves on worldly things
all things poisonous and green
one day we will give up all our spines
and fly away
we will wait for the breeze to carry us
somewhere far away

Until than, we aim to be unseen
keep our heads down
be silent
safe inside this thin transparent skin
watch our beautiful color
they slowly form within

We will be artists, poets we will rise and fall
on summer air
we will leave our old selves behind
than you will know us


What do you think?

Written by stevelinebaugh

Oil painter and pastel artist, writer, photographer, graphic designer,
originally from New Jersey


  1. Wow Steve, you have put yourself in the butterfly’s body and mind and are talking as he would. That is my opinion anyway. Good for you for leaving these caterpillars alone so at least one became a beautiful butterfly. That is how change is you know. Without change there would be no butterflies. Have that quote closeby at all times. Change is difficult for all of us but if we roll with the punches, we will eventually land on our feet. Good to see you posting again.