the smell of pine needles under a very hot (for April) sun. Relief to get to the shade of the bikeway, where I saw a caterpillar crossing the trail. One of those ones, I know them from when I was little, the black and yellow and white ones that like rosebush leaves and have a small number of elegant white stand-up-tall hairs. They are the closest thing to what “caterpillar” means to me.
They don’t sting. They dislike crawling on your hands—salt? texture? not sure why, but our hands obviously feel much different than the leaves and stems on which they like to travel. And they are so soft, kitten soft, and their heads are small, round, expressive, and also fuzzy.
I don’t even know what they become. Several childhood experiments (the leaves, the jar, holes poked in the lid, the hopeful stick for building a cocoon or chrysalis or whatever it is these ones build) ended in failure, alas.
There’s something important about knowing what animal, what plant is what before you know an official name for it. The-ones-that-like-rosebush-leaves. Now, though, I think it is time I found out. I am not going to search online for it; I am going to ask a real person, who lives where I grew up and studies biology and will likely know. I will let you know what I find.