As a life-long naturalist, I'm still overwhelmed, shocked, amazed by the miracle of nature. Generally, on any given day, if you look hard enough you will find something that is truly, well, miraculous; life-affirming in its beauty.
Although nature is not always beautiful, it is always interesting. And in this case, it is both.
Saturday afternoon, after hours of heavy rain, on a walk through the plaza in front of the Visitor Center, I spotted something miraculous happening. A monarch butterfly caterpillar was beginning to shed its last larval skin and morph into a chrysalis. Inside something astoundingly wondrous happens. The caterpillar breaks down and reforms itself into a butterfly, a classic metaphor for reinventing yourself.
After a short time, if the fates allow—after all it is quite vulnerable—it will emerge as an adult monarch and fly south to Mexico, having never been there.
The park bench is dedicated to Donna Young, retired City of Knoxville Greenway Director and I can think of no one more "full of life" than Donna. Perhaps the monarch sensed this was a fortuitous, good karmic bench to risk its fortunes on.
- Story and photos by Stephen Lyn Bales and Rex McDaniel.
|A teachable moment: Kids from Bearden United Methodist at Ijams on a field trip |
pause to examine the monarch chrysalis on the park bench.