The other day, upon opening the front door, my husband, Bret and I noticed this black caterpillar crawling on the stucco. As someone who loves butterflies, I was happy to see it there, and took it as a good sign. Having been on my way to shoot, camera in tow, I was able to snap this picture of the cute little creature.
Prior to seeing that caterpillar, we kept being visited by two of the same species of butterfly. While cooking in the kitchen one day, through the door, I saw them fluttering around the courtyard. I grabbed my camera, and my one year old daughter, Brielle, and went outside to chase them. The picture above was the best I could get, as they did not stay still long at all. There were a few other days that I also experienced these butterflies, having one land on my hand, and even once on my head.
Wondering what species they were, I searched the internet, and found the website, DavesGarden.com The name of the butterfly turned out to be, the Mourning Cloak, which is very fitting. I am in mourning, and as I write this, it’s the anniversary of the passing of my father, Charles B. McCrea. It is from him that I inherited my love of nature, which developed into my passion to photograph it.
He would take my siblings and I hiking on the trails at South Mountain Reservation, to see the cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park, fishing in the lake at Weequahic Park, or deep sea fishing on party boats in the Atlantic Highlands, Belmar, and Point Pleasant. We’d go for walks at the Brick Reservoir, kayaking and walks at the Manasquan Reservoir, where we’d be excited when we’d spot the bald eagle being protected there.
Even in our house, I love memories of him calling me from downstairs, to come quick, because there was a bunny in our yard, or a rainbow, or beautiful sunset. When we watched a sunset, he would always say his father (my Grandfather, Grover McCrea), had painted it from heaven. That’s what inspired me to start painting and photographing sunsets. I wanted to make them proud, and of course, I truly enjoy it. I dedicate this post to my father. I hope he is able to watch from above. My heart has not been the same since he left, but I am trying my best to continue on, and hope he knows how much he is missed, and truly loved. The impact he had on my life is profound.
He will always be my hero!
The day after I saw the caterpillar, I realized, it had entered into its chrysalis. How exciting, to be able to watch its metamorphosis into a butterfly. The fact that it’s happening outside the front door, is beyond awesome. Another funny irony, is that it was near a Butterfly Garden Guide picture I hung outside, as I had planned to grow one, but hadn’t found the time yet.
Even more ironic, is that the next day, another caterpillar showed up, and the day after that a third. The third one even chose the bottom of the frame of that picture as its spot. So, now we have three caterpillars in chrysalis outside our door. I am so excited to see them emerge as butterflies, and hope to capture it happening. I might set up a video camera just to make sure I don’t miss it. If I am able to catch it, or snap some photos, I’ll write a follow up and share them.