metamorphosis

Is this what it's like for butterflies, fresh out of the cocoon, sitting and slowly flapping, drying their wings?

Monarch butterflies, Forth Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

Monarch butterflies, Forth Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

They used to crawl slowly over the earth,

down a tree trunk,

across a leaf,

through the grass,

step by laborious step.

Of course, they turn into very beautiful butterflies after the whole mitochondrial soup thing, but how terribly disorienting to FLY--

when all you've ever done before is crawl.

Do they ever get lost?

Flying over the places they used to crawl?

Is there a homing beacon that leads them to food, water, safety, community, their place for procreation, or else all butterflies would end?

Monarch butterfly, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

Monarch butterfly, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

Sometimes I think it would all be so much easier if I could just operate by instinct, each new phase of life coming without trauma surprise confusion, just the next natural thing that happens in the natural world.  (If you're not growing and changing, you're dead, after all.)

I sometimes stand outside the locked doors of the past, wishing I had the power to get back in.

Does the butterfly feel this way about the cocoon?  Wanting back in, but not having the power to get there?

But it's not about power, really.  

It's about metamorphosis.

The change that transforms you into a beautiful, unrecognizable self.

Once that change has come, you can't go back.  You can't unmake yourself.

The cocoon is broken, for one thing, and you're no longer a caterpillar, for another.  

It's beautiful, being a butterfly now.

And.

It's terrifying,

being a butterfly now.

You can't go back.

You can't go back.

So.

Accept it. 

Dry your wings, dry your tears.

Bow to the natural wisdom of growth and newness of life.

Metamorphose.

Let the change come, as change must.

And then fly, as butterflies were made to do.

Monarch Butterfly, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

Monarch Butterfly, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, photo: Andy Bruner

Print Friendly and PDF