The Beauty That Turned Into A Beast

I am still reeling with shock.

A few days ago I went to check on my tomato plant and something caught my eye. It was a bright green caterpillar, perfectly camouflaged. I had never seen such an enormous caterpillar. It was plump and at least 2 to 3 inches long. I immediately thought back to when my daughter was young and we had a butterfly kit. What a magical experience to witness the different stages of metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly — finally giving it freedom at the butterfly exhibit at our museum of natural science. When I saw this stunning caterpillar I was so excited; imagining (hoping it would stay where it was) coming outside every day and watching the development. Surely it was going to turn into the most beautiful monarch butterfly.

And here is where the story turns… The next day, this is what I saw:

WHAT IS THAT??? I didn’t remember this from our butterfly kit. I went back inside and Googled the image and was horrified by what I read. This was a tomato hornworm. This was NOT going to turn into a monarch butterfly, but instead, a huge moth. And those white things? Larvae.

This city girl was so disgusted and almost embarrassed by how caught up in the excitement and beauty of the promise from this caterpillar, only to be extremely disappointed.

So this is what they mean by Things are not always what they seem… You can have the beast that turns into a beauty because of all its inside goodness. And you can have the beauty that turns into the beast, as this little creature stakes its place as a pollinator in the food chain. We all have a purpose. The difference is how you look at it.

It has now been a few days since I wrote this story. I haven’t gotten that image out of my mind, however, I am consciously trying to shift my feelings from discomfort (read “disgust”) to awe. Instead of being horrified I am now appreciative of this strange quirk of nature.