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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)

TITLE: The Caterpillar Chronicles
By Donna Powers


Today, I saw my future.

I'll be the first to admit that, up until now, my outlook on life hasn't been all that positive. But consider life through my eyes, if you will. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a Monarch caterpillar. I'm certainly not the world's ugliest creature, but I'm not about to win any beauty pageants, either. Compared to other caterpillars, I'm pretty colorful. I like my black and yellow stripes, and I suppose that there are worse base colors than white. But so far, the highlights of my two weeks of life have consisted of molting: shedding and growing new sets of skin. After the first four times, it got pretty boring. And talk about a monotonous diet: all we ever eat is milkweed.

I just don't understand why it takes so long to become a butterfly. Why can't the Creator just make us butterflies when we're born? Why do we have to slink around for two weeks as caterpillars? Everyone tells us about how beautiful Monarch butterflies are and how our destiny will be so colorful. Nobody says anything good about us caterpillars. I've heard the older ones say the Creator has His reasons for doing it this way. I've also heard them say that He has a purpose for every stage of our life. I can accept that. It's just that it's really pretty dull, waiting for the changes.

For a while I wondered if there was anything I could do, to speed up the process. I ate that milkweed like it was a gourmet feast; trying like crazy to speed up the molting. That didn't accomplish anything except to help me gain an ounce. I tried to check out some of the abandoned cocoons that I saw near the leaves. I thought that if I could figure out how they were made, I could make one for myself. But, then I got to watch one of the older ones as they hung upside down and went into their cocoon, and I realized the cocoon is something that's made out of our skin. It's like molting, but on Cocoon Day it grows out differently. I just couldn't hurry the process, no matter how I tried. That really bummed me out, because I didn't see the point of remaining a caterpillar.

But, today, for the first time, I saw some Monarch butterflies. I looked up and saw flashes of brilliant orange, glittering boldly across the sky. I couldn't believe how bright and brilliant their colors were. Surely, these butterflies are a testimony to the glory of the Creator! What a privilege to be able to display such beauty, just by existing. What a destiny to look forward to!

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to talk to one of them. When I admired her beautiful orange wings, she told me the bright colors are there for more reason than decoration. The Creator uses that bright color as a signal to those who would try to eat Monarchs; it means that they are poisonous to eat. And, here’s a surprise: the toxins are there because of that milkweed we caterpillars eat! Even now – when I thought my present existence had no point - I’m creating chemicals that will protect me when I’m a butterfly. She also told me that although she still has to eat some milkweed, she also gets to eat the nectar of clovers, lilacs and other flowers. That sounds pretty good to me.

The beauty of those butterflies humbled me. If the Creator needs time to get me ready to grow into my cocoon so I can one day become that lovely, I will try to be more patient. I looked at those butterflies today and thought how, just weeks ago, they were humble caterpillars like me who were wise enough to wait for the Creator’s time to advance to the next stage of life. So for today, I am content to wait.

So, for today, that milkweed is my daily bread and I’ll trust the Creator to know when I am ready to graduate to Cocoon Day.

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Sara Harricharan 01/24/08
Awww! I liked this honest and cute story from the Caterpiller's point of view. So much fun, especially when he was trying to speed up the whole process only to learn just how valuable it really was and vital to him when he became a butterfly. This could be a children's story, it's short and down-to-earth. Good job. ^_^
Patty Wysong01/24/08
I love the title--it's just right for the story and it made me want to read this. I love the voice and I could see illustrations for this. It was delightful and it taught a lesson and about monarchs--double cool! Great job! :-)
Emily Gibson01/26/08
I think you have the nugget of a great illustrated children's story here, and it made me remember walking through a cloud of monarchs one special day while on the coast of California. Unforgettable!
Deborah Engle 01/26/08
This was quite interesting to read, besides being written very well. I always love learning new things, and even though I've admired butterflies all my life, I didn't know most of these facts. Thanks for the nature lesson.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/26/08
Excellent! I love the POV of the caterpillar, and it is equally as engaging for adults as it would be for children.
Sherry Castelluccio 01/27/08
I agree with everyone else. What a great story full of interesting tidbits and just fun stuff. A great life lesson as well. Enjoy where you are right now- God is preparing you for something greater in the future.
Debbie Wistrom01/28/08
A true example of crawling first, loved the nature tie-in. Keep up the good words.