By all conventional wisdom, this monarch caterpillar shouldn't be. Frost has lightly blanketed my garden on multiple nights, winter starting the decaying process of the butterfly weed upon which it depends for sustenance. Surprisingly, I saw at least a dozen cats yesterday and figured last night, the coldest yet, would be the one to send them off gently into that cold dark winter night. Somehow this one endured. It shouldn't be. It should be in Mexico overwintering in warmer climes or it should be dead. But it's not. It's stuck here in my garden with the dying butterfly weeds. It's not where it wants to be, if ever a butterfly could want. It's certainly not where it's supposed to be based on the migratory patterns. An existential crisis if ever there was one. It must struggle to endure its dying source of nourishment. It must find an enclave protected from the elements in which to create its chrysalis. It must endure until weather warms and favors growth over decay. And finally, it must emerge out the other side transformed into something else. But first, to endure.