Dancing For Your Life

You may remember this post the other day where I wrote about chewing on an idea, what I didn’t mention at the time was how difficult it was to get a macro shot of the caterpillar I used for that post. Every time I came in close to snap a photograph, the caterpillars would suddenly lift their back ends up and hold them aloft moving them up and down slightly in a waving motion.

This morning I did some research as I was curious to see what they might look like as butterflies. I was having no luck searching through Google for websites until I stumbled across a link that mentioned dancing caterpillars. It turns out they will never be butterflies as this type of larvae are known as Sawfly larvae which look more wasp-like than anything else after it goes through its final changes.

As for the dancing movement, that is commonly said to only be seen in this particular type and is a survival technique that is supposed to protect them from harm. They only do it if you get too close, but when they went into defensive dance mode with me it seemed kind of slow if the goal was to protect them from birds and other fast-moving predators. A few days later I went back to the bush to see what had become of them and to see if anything remained of the plant they had been munching their way through only to discover the branches empty and bare.

While they had eaten quite a lot of the leaves, more remained than were missing which made me wonder if perhaps those little caterpillars had not danced fast enough to avoid becoming a dinner snack for some of the birds in our back garden.

Of course nothing is ever only an educational experience on one level for me, not content with just an impromptu science lesson, I spent some time thinking about these dancing caterpillars and considered all the protective dance moves I’ve used in my own life. I considered the effectiveness of what nature had taught these little future flyers as I thought about the ways I’ve used denial and avoidance in the past to sidestep important issues and I wondered whether that had hurt or saved me in my transformative years.

Can you tell I’m working on something a bit deeper in my daily writing than just happy pleasant things? What about you, are you doing any dancing lately and is it working? Maybe you can teach the rest of us a few new steps … in case we need them sometime. Regarding dancing, I should tell you that I am notorious for trying to lead but I’ll try not to step on your toes.

7 thoughts on “Dancing For Your Life

  1. I’m in place where I’m not having to dive too deep as my state of mind and the deepness seem to have meet each other in a non-colliding form. But, I’m happy to know at last what eats my chinese elm tree every year. I start out with a tree full of beautiful, healthy, shiny green leaves and within weeks, the leaves are full of holes and brown and withered looking. The worms never seem to make it to the top of the tree (perhaps becoming wasp like first), but they make the tree look ugly. And they drop on me when I’m trying to bbque. I appreciate the photo (where they look absolutely beautiful) and the info about the dancing. But on the whole, I’m not crazy about wormy beings. Although I will now try and be more open to them.

  2. I’ve declared this the year of the ant. I learned a little poem about them when our kids were young –

    “I would not crush a little ant
    that scurries through the grass,
    for God took time to make him,
    so I shall let him pass.”

    Ants in the house are a different story. I usually just vacuum them up or put borax with a little sugar in a plastic container to do them in. I don’t like to use poison; why should I poison our air and have sticky goo with dead insects on them?

    What I am working through is getting older of age – how people view you when you are older – it’s a whole other world for us baby-boomers.

  3. I’m with “deep” Elizabeth, always have been..I don’t know though about teaching anyone..sometimes the ”deep” is very private to ourselves..

    Thank you for the loving way you are sharing your thoughts and your wonderful writing..

    Are you feeling the pull of spiritual growth perhaps.. That’s how it started with me..

    Best wishes with the Dance of Life!

  4. Such a wonderful metaphor for life..and how we ‘dance’ in order to protect and defend ourselves from change and growth (and unwelcome strangers).
    Beautifully penned!!!

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