The Caterpillar by Christina Georgina Rosetti
Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry;
Take your walk
To the shady leaf or stalk.
May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.
When I put on Caterpillar, I feel small small small in a big big big world, a little chilly and frighteningly vulnerable. The path in front of me is simply a path, I do not feel worry about my destination for there is none. My destination is always the path I’m on.
The world is big from my perspective. I can fit into spaces of nothingness that larger perspectives gloss over and are unable to witness. This void of unwitnessed space is where I find solace.
When I’m plump and content from the greens and ‘path salad’ I feel myself growing tired and slow, too lethargic to forage ahead. What do I do now? I feel suffocated with fullness and trapped by this sluggish body. I’m really just a cute fuzzy wuzzy target that could easily become some being’s afternoon snack – goodness knows how delicious I am!
I’d like to sleep off this ‘path salad’ hangover but what I need is a safe place to rest and digest the last few months of journeying. I know this is an inside job and feel pregnant with my own birth looming. Waves of fear, grief and hesitation move through me like perfectly timed labor pains – but no doubt lingers – for in my heart – there is an unwavering certainty of what is to come. I smile.
I have just enough resources and energy to spin myself a luxurious protective home to encase me safely while I digest and grieve the only life I’ve known – caterpillar. What will happen next? Where will I go? I shiver with fear. My heart knows. I smile.
I look behind but there is no path. I look ahead but still there is no path. End of the road. This will be my home for the next…
Here is a beautiful brown sturdy twig that beckons me to hang around. “Hi there Mr. Twig, you will be my friend.” Twig is excited to have company and appears to have been awaiting my arrival. He will watch over me while I sleep.
I feel my weary caterpillar body fully – full of ‘old ways’ of being clinging to my insides with superglue – these suckers ain’t moving! More attachments are intricately enmeshed throughout my organs creating a stubborn hardness that aches to soften and release.
Through the discomfort and pain I feel anticipation rising through the hard and crusty walls of old ways. This excitement paints a vision of freedom that I will soon experience when my sleepy transformation is complete.
In the distance numerous cocoons sway in the breeze – each attached to their own Mr. Twig. I can hear sounds of labour pains echoing through the shrubs, their cocoons bubbling at the sides like a child caught in a zipped up sleeping bag.
Vaguely, I can make out body parts as they restlessly push and pull within the confines of their cocoon with no part resembling a caterpillar. There are faint outlines of glorious wings, long slender bodys and beautiful drops of rainbow light. Boy oh boy, this cocoon journey is soooooo worth it – I wag my tail – and yes, I have a tail because I do – because it needs to wag right now!
I wrap the last few strands of silkyness around my chubby, fuzzy, wuzzy body and feel snug as a bug in a rug. I am tired. I am sad. I am full. I am scared. I am excited. I am ready-or-not here I come! Oh wait, one last thought before I disappear into my pathless slumber….How does a Butterfly poop???