We chose Saturday morning to release Catipillie into the wild, although we could have held on to him until Monday at the latest. (You shouldn’t keep a butterfly for longer than four days.)
The boys considered their options. Should we release Catipillie on our back porch into the neighbour’s bougainvillea so he remembers where home is? Or should we release him at the park so he can enjoy some of our favourite spots? We chose the park.
The thing is, I forgot to leave a stick inside his bungalow after he emerged from his crysalis, and his still-wet wings didn’t fully dry and were a little stuck together. Once he got used to me he patiently allowed me to carefully (and with a leaf because I heard as a child that if you touch a butterfly’s wings it could damage its ability to fly) separate his wings.
I was able to separate his wings and he flew successfully up into the trees. I was nearly overcome with motherly emotion, having spent the past ten minutes talking to him about going out into the world and being a productive member of society, and feeling incredibly guilty that I was sending him out with a handicap due to my inability to read and follow directions. But he’s fine. And I’m fine. And we’ve decided to make this a family tradition. This time I’ll remember to stock the bungalow with plenty of resting places so his wings can fully dry!
And in case you were wondering, this is what an empty crysalis looks like: