One of Kate's sideline projects the past couple of years--part of her elementary school science teaching--has been to raise anise swallowtail caterpillars to the point where they go into the chrysalis, then harbor the chrysalides until the butterflies emerge. It's not easy. We had a couple of chrysalides on the back porch that some predator--a bird, probably--came and picked off. After that, Kate improvised some netting to protect the five remaining caterpillars, which in due course changed to chrysalis form.
The last of them changed probably a month ago, and what we've had, first on the sometimes very warm back porch and then in a shadier spot in a side yard, is a green plastic box with some sticks in it that have had some dead-looking mummy-type things hanging from them. Honestly--when you look at these objects, it's a little hard to believe anything living can emerge from them. But we've been checking every morning anyway.
Yesterday, a surprise: a newly metamorphosed anise swallowtail butterfly, perched on one of the net-supporting hoops in the green box. We were headed out for the afternoon, but we lifted the netting to give it a chance to fly away when it was ready. When we got home, well after dark, it was gone. I'd like to think it got a chance to feed and perhaps eluded for a few hours anyway whatever out there in the world will look at it and see food. I'd like to think that it might find a like-minded anise swallowtail of the opposite sex and get a shot at perpetuating their kind.
Long damn odds, but beautiful to behold.