Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The fragility of life

We are doing the Monarch butterfly thing here but it is tough being a Monarch caterpillar at our place.
One was already to go into it's chrysalis and had found a suitable spot on the stand that was holding up the peas. It had attached itself with some silk stuff and was getting into the right hanging position.
Unfortunately it poured with rain and Lucy decided this little caterpillar needed a drink. She carefully stuck the stand out in the rain and gusty wind. Yes the inevitable happened, the stand blew down and cut the poor caterpillar in two.
The second caterpillar possibly heard of what happened as we found him lying dead on the concrete under the swan plant. We will never know if he jumped or if he was pushed. No witnesses are willing to speak up.
After replenishing the caterpillars with some new ones. We have finally made it to the chrysalis stage! One we even managed to see do this - which was actually pretty amazing.
I don't know if we are going to make through to the butterfly - the pretty little chrysalises (that is the plural to chrysalis) are quite tempting to little fingers.
I wonder if caterpillars are aware of what they become? Or does the odd caterpillar suggest it and get ridiculed by it's caterpillar mates.
I wonder when they become butterflies, do they just love it? It must be awesome to lift off, that first time, after being a fat caterpillar having to walk everywhere.
I wonder if some hate it and reminisce about the good ol' days when they lived longer and just hung around on the plant.
It is quite a trade off between the life styles; the caterpillar lives longer but can't fly, the butterfly has a very short life - but can fly where it wants - can see the world.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What have I learned?

When you watch little kids and you see how much they learn in such a short time, it is amazing. Then I think how I am in my 36th year of existence and what are the big things I have learned in all that time?
In no particular order I think these are some of them:
* Even if you make it to the top of your chosen field you have to acknowledge luck had a part to play and there is more than likely to be someone, who may even be better, but has just not had the same opportunities as you, or in short - life is unfair.
* Success does not lead to happiness and contentment, it just makes you hungry for more, so at least remember to stop and enjoy success when it happens.
* Be thankful for what you have and who you are.
* Sometimes going through the worst things teaches you the most.
* It is impossible to live like there may be no tomorrow - it is just too tiring and stressful.
* The future is not always better than the past, sometimes it is just different - so enjoy it now.
* The more you know, the more you realise you don't know.
* People you look up to, are just people too and make mistakes.
* People everywhere are generally nice.
* You do just remember the good bits.
* The assumptions I carry around in my head can often be wrong.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A large monkey

There are some giant soft toys around. The other day a girl biked past with a monkey, the size of a three-year-old child, leaning on the handlebars.
It is not everyday you see such a large, soft, toy being transported by bike. It seemed to suggest something fun or funny or exciting had just happened. But according to the girl's face, this was not the case. If I was to describe the expression I would say, bored.
Maybe she has to transport this monkey every day and I just happened to catch her this day.
Maybe it was not her monkey, maybe her friend left it behind by mistake and she had to return it - though how you would forget bringing over a large monkey, I'm not sure.
Maybe her boyfriend always gives her oversized, soft toys and she has dozens of them crowding her bedroom and she was biking home trying to imagine where she was going to put it.
It was good to see a bike being used to transport larger goods. I was impressed from my short visit to Shanghai, just what it was possible to fit on a bicycle - a whole pig carcass, a stack of carefully arranged shoeboxes. As soon as I have something to transport, I always think, I need to take a car.
Maybe I should think again - the monkey looked happy enough.

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.