There it was on my dining room floor of my apartment, a half caterpillar, half butterfly – a caterfly. Not fully metamorphosized into what it was intending to be.
Crawling on my floor, flapping its wings you could see the beginning of aesthetic beauty, the bright orange colours of a monarch butterfly at the centre of its otherwise faded brown and underdeveloped wings. But this creature could not fly.
Assumedly blown into my apartment during a torrential downpour, the blustering winds tearing it from its home on one of the trees out back. Breaking open its cocoon that was created for shelter from the inner storm of transformation. It’s self-created protective device to keep it safe while it goes through the agonizing discomfort of change. Not unlike our own self-created, eventually self-destructive, protective devices intended to keep us safe from the storms of life.
This caterfly was unceremoniously cracked open far too early for it to reach its full potential, to fully transform into a butterfly. Ripped from its shelter, while in transition from beast to beauty.
But this caterfly did not come to me by accident. Propped on my apartment floor six storey’s up, the wind guiding its way through a small opening in my balcony doors seemed like an extreme feat even for nature …. not to mention that it had not been eaten by my cats, who were in fact just merely staring at this “odd” creature in awe and curiosity just as I was.
This creature torn from its cocoon, its comfort zone during its most fragile transition was symbolic of me, of my life … able to crawl, but not quite able to fly yet.
Yet this caterfly survived the storm, seemed to be accepting of its limitations, not frantically searching for its cocoon of safety and needing to fearfully crawl back into it, rather it appeared to be at peace as it continued to crawl on and attempt to fly.
And it is with this observation of character and perseverance that I realized it is exactly these imperfections that make it beautiful and unique … perfect in its imperfection. And it is here in this transitional stage where we find our own way, who we really are and develop our own wings to fly.
But I wanted to keep this caterfly, to nurse it, help it grow and become what it should be or so what I thought it should be, but I knew I couldn’t. It would wither and die and never be what it is supposed to be in this life if I tried to hold on to it and force it to become something it couldn’t and, perhaps, something it didn’t want to be. I knew it could only be what it is and realized there was nothing wrong with that when I saw it find comfort and joy as I placed it where it belongs … in the garden. I watched it happily crawl up the stems of the plants, proudly spreading its wings and showing its unique beauty to the world.
I knew it was flying on the inside.