Slowly and steadily the caterpillar munches through the succulent green leaf supporting it. Not long ago this caterpillar — hidden away in an egg that could be as small as a pinhead — was laid here by its mother so it would find this immediate food source upon hatching. Over the course of the next several weeks, it has only one job: eat and eat and eat! Once this plant has been devoured, it will scuttle along to the next.
Like the children who often enjoy watching it, the caterpillar has no idea what it will become as it grows up. At the start it only knows the path that its parents have set for it, but as the seasons change it must depart from the safety it’s always known.
When the caterpillar finds its own place to settle, a new, independent stage of life begins. It is responsible for spinning its own silk and hardening its outer shell for protection. Some decide to dangle from branches or walls, confident in their openness, while others withdraw to hide in leaves or bury themselves underground. Regardless of its location, its shell changes colors, blending into the world it has chosen.
Big changes happen inside that chrysalis over the course of weeks, months or even years. The potential to become a unique butterfly has always been there within the caterpillar; it just needed the chance to awaken those sleeping cells.
Now that the butterfly has come into its own, it has an abundance of paths it could take. Many butterfly species migrate, coming and going with the spring, fall or winter. Sometimes they can be found in groups of thousands, banding together to find their way across the horizons. Not even experts have discovered where all of them end up.
We all have our own transformations to make, some short, some long. From childhood we struggle for growth and independence, change with the seasons and leave history behind. Like the butterfly, our exact destination may be unknown, but the journey itself can still be beautiful.