Dream of: 15 November 2001 "Cocoon"

My mother pointed out a fuzzy caterpillar crawling around the rooms of the house. I had seen the caterpillar before; its front half was dark-brown, while its rear was butterscotch-brown. The caterpillar had seemed healthy and had displayed a dense furry coat. Now, however, the caterpillar appeared bedraggled, part of its fur seemed to have fallen out, and the remaining fur hung unkempt. The caterpillar was moving much faster than previously, almost frenetically, scurrying from spot to spot.

I immediately grasped the problem: the caterpillar was ready to spin its cocoon and was looking for a place to do so. Unfortunately – there in the house – the caterpillar seemed unable to find an appropriate place for a cocoon. Fortunately, I located a potted plant – about a meter tall – and coaxed the caterpillar onto the dirt in the pot. As my mother and I watched, the caterpillar quickly climbed up the stem of the leafy green plant.

I explained to my mother that the caterpillar was seeking a place to build its cocoon. What was the technical term for this activity? I erroneously told my mother the caterpillar was "molting." Even as I said the word, I thought it was incorrect.

To my glee, the caterpillar reached a leaf about 20 centimeters long and began folding the leaf in half. I excitedly told my mother that the caterpillar was folding the leaf in order to build a cocoon inside. The caterpillar than began spraying a thin stream of liquid onto the leaf. Obviously the liquid would serve to secure the leaf and the cocoon. I was intensely intrigued by the activity – I had never seen a caterpillar actually construct a cocoon.

Just as the folding of the leaf was almost completed, I perceived a potential problem: the plant was a tobacco plant! Would a tobacco leaf be safe for a cocoon? Would the leaf not prove toxic? Obviously it was too late to change now. I would just have to let the caterpillar finish building the cocoon and wait to see if anything finally emerged.

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