Something caught my eye. It was something in the house that did not belong. At first I thought it was some household debris—the progeny of a migratory dust bunny. Upon closer inspection, I realized that a caterpillar had formed a cocoon inside our house, finding security by dangling from the flat face of the fireplace.
Way cool! I thought, but I wondered how my wife Michelle, who prefers a tidy home, would react. To her credit, she found this evolving little life form as cool as I did. We left the cocoon alone.
A few days later, I was dismayed to find a pool of red liquid about the size of a quarter just beneath the cocoon. It looked like blood, and it seemed that there was a considerable amount of it relative to the size of the cocoon. He’s dead, Jim, I recalled the old Star Trek line. However, I had no idea whether or not this was a natural part of the insect’s life cycle, so I didn’t disturb it.
A day or two later, I awoke from an afternoon nap to the sound of a fierce flapping. The canvas awning over the back patio twitched and convulsed in the violent wind, which was unusual for that time of year. Generally, such effects from Mother Nature come during the earlier winter months, but since we lived in California, anything was possible. I made a mental note to check out other, “less-flappy”, awning alternatives.
One Friday soon after, I returned home from work and decided to relax after the long week. I dozed off while sitting on the couch in front of the TV, only to be awakened by what I thought was the same annoying sound of the wind again blowing the backyard canvas awning. But today, I realized, there was no wind, no breeze, no draft to move the fabric of the awning outside the sliding glass door. What was making that noise?
Owen the Butterfly is the Epilogue of my book, MISTAKE: An adoptee searches for the truth of his origin. It is a true story about my adoption experience searching for my biological family.