Advice from a Caterpillar

Editor’s Note: The sun is still hot! We’re going for 100+ again this week.

Yesterday I spoke with the young man whose job it is to regulate the flow of water in the irrigation canal I walk along each morning. The canal runs for miles, carrying water to crops and livestock greatly in need of it. Area lakes are at 16-34% capacity, and Four-Mile Lake has disappeared completely.

I, for one, am praying for a long, wet winter with lots of snow in the mountains. The rain can hardly come soon enough.

The low water levels have caused the water temperature to rise, promoting lots of moss growth. Where I walk, the water plants trail like the yard-long tresses of invisible mermaids, undulating and beautiful.

I’m not sure that last week’s poem reached everyone. Was Mercury acting up? Or was it Charter’s internet service? I’m not even sure if I’ve used this week’s poem before.

Poet Amy Gerstler work is delightful, with many poems too long to feature here. But this is a good one. I recommend her highly!


Chew your way into a new world.
Munch leaves. Molt. Rest. Molt
again. Self-reinvention is everything.
Spin many nests. Cultivate stinging
bristles. Don’t get sentimental
about your discarded skins. Grow
quickly. Develop a yen for nettles.
Alternate crumpling and climbing. Rely
on your antennae. Sequester poisons
in your body for use at a later date.
When threatened, emit foul odors
in self-defense. Behave cryptically
to confuse predators: change colors, spit,
or feign death. If all else fails, taste terrible.

Amy Gerstler
from Dearest Creature ©2009


1. How much of this advice can you translate into human terms?
2. Are you sentimental about any of your “discarded skins?” Write about that.
3. What tactics do you use when threatened?
4. Where are you in the rest/molt/rest/molt again cycle?


Copyrighted material. Reprinted for educational/therapeutic use.
Writing Prompts Copyright © 2015 Featherstone, All rights reserved.

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