This morning I had a caterpillar in a jar.
When I got home from work, I had this:
If you look closely at the first photo you can see the tiny silk threads that will become his silk pad, where he will attach himself as he moves into the pupa stage. The beautiful green chrysalis with the ring of gold dots will protect the forming butterfly. If everything goes as planned, in 10-14 days he (or she -- and yes, I can tell them apart), will emerge as a full grown monarch butterfly, ready to fly off, mate and, if it's a female, lay eggs of her own.
Watching this process, it's easy to understand why the butterfly is a symbol of transformation. Beautiful from the start, the caterpillar is able to transcend its form to become something breathtaking.