The Great Metamorphosis (of Witches)

August 15th, 2019


Our fixation on insects continues. This week it’s monarch butterflies. A friend was visiting with her family last weekend, and we caught their monarch infatuation, which apparently was contagious. Suddenly, I have an entire array of monarch butterflies in all stages of metamorphosis lining my kitchen windowsill.

Here’s the thing about butterflies: they are really weird. Here’s the thing about caterpillars, too: they are totally disgusting. Glorified worms, as my brother pointed out. More and more, I am convinced they’re also witches. 


Like when I put a milkweed leaf in a mason jar overnight, sure it had one tiny little baby caterpillar on it, and came back the next morning to find…. four. Or when I turn my back on a jar, and return my gaze to find that the caterpillar within has eaten an entire milkweed leaf and grown in triplicate. Shudder.

“Why are you even doing this?” my husband skeptically asked after I begged him to swap out milkweed leaves in one of my jars so I didn’t have to touch it.

“For the girls, obviously,” I replied. 

“But they don’t care,” he pointed out bluntly. It was true; they had a blast capturing caterpillars on Sunday and never thought about it again.


Nevertheless, here we are. My OCD compulsions and my overachiever mentality won’t let me abandon this project. I did release one caterpillar back into the wild when I became sure it was slowly asphyxiating inside the makeshift terrarium I had designed with a Fage yogurt container. I easily could have made a bigger hole in the lid, but I panicked.

My friend Melissa pointed out the lack of common sense I had shown in letting go of the caterpillar that was just about to turn into a chrysalis. “But I’d rather work for it,” I said, “by watching the little ones grow first.”


My therapist assures me that sort of thinking is a sign of my commitment to keeping my anxiety revved up. That’s right, I talk to my therapist about monarch butterflies now. She was actually quite envious that I live on a property overrun with milkweed. That, of course, just validated my urge to obsessively collect more butterfly babies.

Two days ago, we upgraded to an official “butterfly habitat cage,” and yes, I did resort to Amazon for this. The mason jars were simply too small, and I figured, we’ll do this every year, right?


Definitely no.


What I’m eating:

As I write this, I am eating a biscuit sandwich from my utter favorite Brattleboro food cart, The Biscuit Shed, which is packing up and moving south in a few weeks, like some sort of misbegotten migrating bird of caloric goodness. I am so, so sad, but committed to eating a 5,000-calorie biscuit sandwich every day until then.

What I’m listening to:

The Highwomen’s debut album

What I’m reading:

What It’s Like to Live With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which, okay, it’s in Cosmo, but! it’s Taffy Brodesser-Akner

What I’m working on:

For Peltarion: An example from an email series I recently wrote for members of this AI platform’s free community

For Helpshift: Knowledge Management Tools: The Secret Weapon of Customer Service

For Eventbrite: Facebook Dynamic Event Ads: The Best-Kept Secret to Drive Ticket Sales

I’m recognizing a metaphorical trope here. Must do better.

Share Button

No Comments »