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Foreword by Jillian Sawyer
A furry brown caterpillar crawling over my hands, or curling up in a
ball to play dead if I poked it, then slowly uncurling and undulating
away when it felt safe. Trying to catch butterflies without a net, this
was relatively easy with the bigger, slower ones. Never did catch a
little skipper though, even after patiently following them all over the
back lawn, too fast for me!
Who didn’t play with caterpillars or chase butterflies when they were a
The common butterflies that visited my childhood were yellows, whites,
black and whites, browns and oranges and, of course, the little skippers
and blues. I don’t remember that we ever had names for them, they were
just beautiful butterflies.
We also kept silkworms as kids; they spent their whole lives in shoe
boxes with holes punched in the lids for ventilation. I remember we used
to feed them different greens for different coloured silks. My
girlfriend and I used to clamber onto her shed’s roof and pinch her
neighbour’s mulberry leaves for pink silk. Of course, we’d have a good
feed while we were up there and come down faces, hands, pinnies and
clothes stained pink from the yummy mulberries. The worms were regular
eating machines and when they spun their cocoons we waited patiently for
metamorphosis and the moths to appear.
Metamorphosis – now there’s a word! We usually use it to describe the
change of a caterpillar to a butterfly, or a tadpole to a frog, but how
apt a word to describe our own life changes: The gradual change from
baby to adult, the transition of girl to beautiful woman, boy to fine
young man and of youth giving way to age. The change of a bud to flower
then fruit. The change of form or structure during any natural life. The
change of the world around us.
After all, isn’t all life about change? Change in appearance, character
The caterpillar just does it in a far quicker and more spectacular way.
FOOTNOTE: In these pieces you will notice I have had a love affair with
the beautiful iridised glass that is available to us now. It is
extremely difficult to photograph and nearly drove Wayne up the wall. He
resorted to all sorts of trickery and manipulation!