content note: bugs, eating bugs

i remember a small, stained white envelope that my parents opened, telling me it contained the seeds of silkworms. we planted them in a box with some mulberry leaves, and left the box in the den next to the patio door.

when the silkworms sprouted, you could hear them quietly grinding down the leaves. these delicate little noodles, clinging to the sides of the box, reaching for the wilted green flaps of fiber, slowly converting the plant matter to flesh. they'd nap, once in a while, and you could tell they were asleep because a triangle would appear on their foreheads, and when they awoke, they would be bigger.

when they stopped eating, they'd search out corners. my mother showed me how to build platforms for them, construction paper spread over the top of a plastic cup, held in place with a rubber band or a piece of string. if you moved a cornered sillkworm onto the platform, they'd spray silk across it, making a little disc of fabric.

then, they'd curl up and turn hard on top of the disc and die. sometimes, my mother would fry them for a snack.

we had to let some of them cocoon normally, though; they'd eventually become moths, which would join end-to-end and quiver until more silkworm seeds scattered across the bottom of the box, and then we would let them fly off into the woods.

02 March 2018 19:47

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