Tana Herndon pointed out to me this monarch caterpillar munching on some common milkweed in the pollinator garden a few days ago. This is the first monarch caterpillar that I have seen this spring. I am always happy to see them and also a bit amazed. Even though I have known of the epic journey of the monarch butterflies to and from Mexico for a long time, it doesn't make me marvel any less when the new generation of caterpillars hatch out here in the spring. These insects are wonderful ambassadors for the natural world--from the jaunty stripes of the caterpillar to the beautiful coloring of the butterfly's wings to the majestic gold of the chrysalis (which always makes me feel as if I have just found a treasure)--it is hard not to fall in love with them.