In elementary school science we were taught that animals with bright colors such as poison arrow frogs and monarch butterflies flaunted their coloring to advertise that they were poisonous. There are times when I wish I, too, could show a little flash of color as a warning. Like this not-so-friendly caterpillar we found in the woodpile a week or so ago, I want to let the world know that a chance encounter with me could be unhealthy or leave a sting.
For animals the poison is a way of protecting themselves, but it doesn't quite work that way for people. When I'm at my most prickly is usually when I am most in need of a hug, and when I am least able to receive it gracefully. I'm lucky that I have someone who avoids the prickles and gives a tap on the shoulder to remind me to let down my guard, and let others in.