The Parable of the Butterfly

We start so miniscule —
no more than a speck of dust,
smaller than the edge of a fingernail
hidden in the shadow of a leaf,
one nameless egg among thousands,
soft, vulnerable and almost translucent;
and as soon as we are able to move
we begin to consume, to devour the world around us,
barely sleeping, living to eat.
Not knowing the reason, but seeking to satisfy
an endless hunger.
Once we defoliate our entire world,
become fat and sleek and full
yet still longing for another meal,
one that will satisfy and not leave us wanting,
in that moment the whole world
stops,
our feet stuck fast,
and we build solid walls around,
constructed from our own bodies.
Suddenly we must become absolutely still
and wait,
isolated from the rest of life.
Only the energy within still pulses, unseen
Until we are transformed,
shaking off the wrappings of our past,
letting the energy fill our wings.
Finally we can flit through the skies,
focusing at last on the flowers,
sipping from their sweet nectar,
understanding our interdependence,
losing ourselves
in the epiphany of flight.
Oh, for such a brief span of time
we are immersed in this samadhi,
so little of our lifespan!
Then we must seek out the leaves again
and sow the next generation,
that this incarnation
will never see.
What we leave behind
is the future;
what we take with us
is the beauty of right now.
The caterpillar does not strive to become a butterfly;
it cannot do otherwise.

22 APR 2003

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