transfigured.

Folded into the wings I’ve grown are the ghost of legs I used for years. Legs of belonging, agreement, attention and finding what was outside me have lengthened into wings of belonging to me. Agreeing with me. Attention from me. And finding me. In all the loops and whirls of unchartered flight I learned for once, and for all, perhaps, that evolving into the new means to stop explaining the old.

One cannot be a butterfly while explaining why it consumed so many leaves. It cannot find space above trees while rationalizing why it used to hide under branches. You, in all your winging acrobatics, cannot pause to talk of why you inched and crawled and fell sideways off limbs too brief to hold you. It was enough that you did. And in all the shifting changes that brought you to the tilting dance above spring sodden fields and running children, your wings were being built.

It wasn’t that the crawling was the way you used to be, it is that the crawling was you. It wasn’t that the time of silent cool surrender needs an apology or explanation, it was quiet and sacred, and yours—fiercely protected and honored and held in the new eyes formed from the ones who didn’t yet see this new expanse of green shafted sunlight. Nothing from the butterfly is made from elements outside the cocoon. No new materials or building blocks are stirred in to the slow marching shifts of caterpillar vessels to the butterfly heart that pumps through wet wings, preparing for the first solo flight as a wonder-work of art. Who you are is who you have been. Every quiet turn of an insect head, every slow motion descent into the layered walls of your own un-making, every stretch that brought you out of where you had last been.

The day the cocoon lifts off your head and throat and heart, you will never be the same. You may look backward, wondering what happened, how you got here, why it all seems so different. And then, in the clear call of a loon singing over the just set sun, you will know. You will beat your newly formed wings that seem somehow familiar, cast as they were from the slow, certain legs that carried you. You will move your four wings in a reverent figure eight pattern of infinity, and on the next breeze you will go where you have always pointed. To seed the next changing, to lay the eggs for another transformation.

Why lay eggs just to do this all over again? Why crawl on the ground, swing alone in a pod of your own making, dull and quiet, just to dissolve into a new strange and winged thing? Because your life is a life of a million butterflies. And after the transformation, after all of the searching, shedding, and silence, you know what the tops of trees look like. You have felt rain soaked wind move your wings, smelled a breeze over a field of new clover, and sat on the edge of a pine branch on an early August morning…and it was magnificent.

It was magnificent.

transfiguring.

I was a caterpillar who talked of butterflies. I could see them, winding through air streams and lighting buttercups to dance with their winged hellos. I watched them, forever lilting while I stretched and arched along the ground, ungrounded.

I was a caterpillar who dreamed of butterflies. The dip and draw of yellow dusted flowers, drunk on summer afternoons and the power of fluttering. I kept their company, underneath their dizzy days—did they remember being me? What it felt like to dream of flighted things and the tops of trees, while stopping at walls and rocks, turning back to find another way to inch ahead.

I was a caterpillar who lost the fuzz and fumble of life in dirt, who swung suspended in air filled with the possibility of wings. I am becoming something, quietness dissolving the gravity that held me from becoming what I always was. In the dark and dimness I am seeing for the first time clearly, the legs that held me earth bound lengthening to filaments of flight.

The way toward light and freedom also includes shadows and loss. To move past the ways of looping thoughts and weighted worries means losing the parts who believed that I could feel like I was flying, while staying earthbound. I was never going to reach the open sky by learning to crawl higher, I had to stop wanting to crawl.

Someday I will be a butterfly who forever remembers being a caterpillar. The two of us spinning into a twisted, lifted, lighted miracle.