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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Trust in God and Nature and the Hungry Caterpillar

by Linda Foltyn

I have two (2) decorative trees in the front of my house, and bordering my backyard is a wooded area. This summer we have had a lot of rain, more than usual. I began to notice that because of additional rain there were a lot more bugs, a lot more mowing the yard, and a lot more caterpillars.

While doing the dishes one day, and looking out my kitchen window into the front yard, I noticed something was not looking right with my beautifully full red-leafed crab apple tree. Upon closer inspection, I noticed half the leaves had been eaten off and the tree trunk was blackened with caterpillars like I have never seen. I mean one day the tree was full with leaves, and literally the next it was almost bare!

After consulting with a neighbor who is more up on her gardening than I, she said that the caterpillars eating the leaves would not affect the healthiness of the tree, and that the leaves would grow back next year with no problem.

My first inclination was to go and hand pick as many as the caterpillars as I could off my beautiful tree, and relocate them to the wooded area bordering my back yard that has just plain old maples and other varieties.

But the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize, that everything has a season, and who am I to say why we should not have more caterpillars. God or spirit must have a good reason why we have more caterpillars this year than most, and that most things go in cycles. Maybe next year we will hardly have any, but more flies!

I came to the realization that I should “go with the flow”, and if the caterpillars want or need to eat my decorative leaves, let them have at it. I let go of the why, the worry, and the “what about my poor tree” and just let it be.

When the caterpillars where done, that poor tree had not one leaf on it. It was truly a funny sight to see a healthy tree with no leaves in the middle of summer while everything else was green around it. They soon began to migrate to my other decorative tree in the front yard, a red leaf sugar maple, when they began their slow march up the trunk, I let them go. I could have put up sticky tape around the bottom of the trunk that would have prevented them from going up much further before they reached the leaves, but I did not. They then began to die on the tree trunk, the caterpillars had apparently gone through their cycle. The ones that made it to the next cycle of the cocoon stage, will soon be reborn, as beautiful butterflies, and what a wonderful sight that will be!

This all happened in June and the early part of July, and you know what? I’ll be damned if that crab apple tree hasn’t grown back its leaves!

I think the above scenario can be used to reflect upon our every day life. All that fuss and worry over something much bigger at work than we could know. The tree served its purpose as food for the caterpillars, the caterpillars eat the leaves and other bugs and turn into beautiful butterflies, and the tree is once again reborn with leaves, it comes full circle. Why should we stop the natural progression of things, just because we are fearful of the outcome? Why should we try and change something in the middle of its cycle (like trying to get rid of all the caterpillars on the tree), just because we can not see the outcome? Why push against the flow?

God and nature have a plan, sometimes it's something we can not see ahead of us (I thought the tree was to be bare the rest of the year or permanently damaged), so let go of fuss and worry, and trust that everything will turn out as it should, and that everything is in perfect and divine order. You do not need to expend needless energy and struggle against it! As the saying goes, you should just “let go, and go with the flow”.

Be Well


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