I wonder what the caterpillar feels when it stops inching forward.
I wonder what it is thinking, when it decides to stop chewing on leaves.
I’m curious what is going on inside, when it begins to surround itself within a cocoon.
It’s fascinating to ponder whether this tiny, awkward, slinking creature, realizes the impact of each of its choices.
Is the caterpillar aware of its destiny?
Does the small, green and white inchworm, slinking and easing itself through existence, making a line, then an omega of itself, know that one near day, it will sprout wings and take flight?
Is this tiny creature aware of the impending metamorphosis before it? Does it anticipate the change? Is it aware of the opportunity that awaits?
It is assuredly difficult to place oneself in the mind of a caterpillar. In much the same way, it is incredibly challenging to perceive change in ourselves. We don’t usually have an accurate gauge by which to quantify the degrees by which we change, be it on a minute, hour, day, or even month to month basis. Frequently, we wake up and see a wrinkle, or a grey hair, or find that we have eaten broccolli for longer than we realized, and enjoying it, or have referred to a favorite band in recollect blissfulness, and wonder, “Where did the time go?” For some, we arise next to the one we believe we loved, suddenly don’t, then ask “When did that happen?” Sometimes, we find ourselves at a favorite restaurant, ordering the same dish/order that we thought we’d been enjoying for years, only to find the flavor bland, and the consistency unenjoyable. For others, this happens when we vacation at a place where we have previously been adamantly opposed to visiting, find it exceedingly enjoyable, and promptly utter “Why haven’t we come here before?!”
What does that say about our focus on our day-to-day change? How does that speak for our hour to hour appreciation? Let that be the declaration for our value of sundown to sunset. May it be a testament to our treatment of each twelfth of a year.
We find it very difficult to inch along in our caterpillar lives, preferring grand, butterfly, revelations over day-to-day appreciations.
We believe that our dreams can carry us off, before our wings are strong enough to take flight.
Perhaps it is our farsighted perceptions that prevent us from seeing the immediate. We are so focused on what we may become, that we fail to appreciate how we get to our goals. We need gradual, slow, daily change, before we can make bounds. We, like the caterpillar, must be patient and persistent with our movements, before we are able to slow down. We must prepare deliberately, and purposefully, before we are able to make great change. We must embrace the daily, before we are ready for the infinite.
The caterpillar may know that it will inevitably evolve, or, it may not be consciously aware. Yet, it keeps at its task, persistent, and deliberate in its gradual growth. It embraces each change of branch, each new leaf, each lurch forward, each grasp upon bark, and each slow, cyclonic motion as it seals itself off from its old self. Then, caterpillar finds itself in a temporary place to rest.
It has appreciated every moment of its existence. It has worked hard, travelling through each inch of the tree. It has seen the sun through countless angles through the eaves.
After it’s brief, sheltered slumber, the caterpillar bursts through a brittle, brown shell.
And the creature that emerges is brilliant, free, and capable of taking flight.
Which it does.