The Caterpillar: ‘quiet nights of quiet stars, quiet chords from my guitar’ – stan getz

There was once a caterpillar who hated butterflies, and all his life, no matter what tree leaf he chewed at or green moss he crawled over, there was nothing more despicable to him than seeing some Monarch butterfly fluttering by and being caught in the net of laughing children.  He just didn’t understand it.  The bees made honey.  The ants had their giant colonies and great museum-like collections of various insects, but those butterflies, who thought they were so special with their vibrant colors of gold and black and the little white speckles stretching around their edges and folds, were the envy of any caterpillar.

Now, this caterpillar in particular had lead a simple life of sorts.  Because he sometimes felt like other bugs thought he was a bit on the pudgy side with his creases and folds, he managed to keep to himself.  Caterpillars don’t play together.  That’s a game for the butterflies. Most of the other bugs seemed to have some special senses to aid their coordination.  The spiders built elaborate traps and homes with their excellent skill.  The grasshoppers could hop twice, no, thrice the distance a human could walk in one step and land exactly where they had hoped to land.  Even the butterflies somehow managed to flutter with grace from flower to flower.  What had they to taunt, the Caterpillar often thought.  For the caterpillars, they often wobbled to and fro with nowhere in particular to go and absolutely no coordination whatsoever.

It seemed as though God had actually spent the day of rest creating the butterfly, for no creature had been so beautiful.  Such symmetry, such perfect symmetry, in one, tiny creature praised God without words.  Angels had been wrongly depicted in history as having the wings of doves, white and feathery, when in fact, angels are truly carried by the butterflies, and yet, the very plausibility of this notion completely angered and enraged the Caterpillar.

It seemed to him there was a flaw in God’s design.  For he, a measly caterpillar, had been created.

One day, the Caterpillar began to feel old and worn.  His anger with the butterflies weakened, though he remained deeply sad with his life and his little, wobbly body.  On the very verge of death, he was sure, he rested his eyes as his body began to harden.  Soon, he thought, he would be cold, withered, and dead.  A shell surrounded him, and he felt assured that this was his casket.  Darkness.  The end approached.

“I am sorry,” he pondered in those final moments, “That I ever thought or spoke such ill toward the Butterfly.”

He closed his eyes to die.  Except, he slowly began to feel more and more…alive.  The little caterpillar began to think of those butterflies and of his own body.  Perhaps God had made it too, though he was immensely confused as to why God would make caterpillars and butterflies.  Why not just make butterflies and leave it at that?  The shell surrounding him slowly began to fade, and light slowly crept in.  His body ached, desperate to be stretched out.  He no longer felt angry with butterflies, only compassion for other caterpillars.  Were it that he could meet another caterpillar, he began to think of the things he might tell him.  Wobble proudly, love those irregular designs across your back, and be thankful for that leathery skin.  God made it too.

The chrysalis began to tear.  More light poured in, and with it, the very beauty of the world.  Rays of light twinkled their way into this ripping shell.  What wonders of God’s creation!  The poor little Caterpillar began crying, for not only had God, he realized, constructed his awkward, wobbly body, but God had made the sunlight that sprinkled upon his body.  He warmed all over, though he wasn’t sure if it was his heart or the sun as it glazed across his belly.  Then, as he stretched and emerged more and more, he realized, his belly looked much different.

His little body was now surrounded by two, large and fanning wings, and he began to flutter (at first with some difficulty).  He was alive, indeed.  Alive and a butterfly, not a caterpillar.  He began to flutter around more, and seeing other butterflies, he fluttered toward them, setting himself on the edge of a stream.  Warmth.  Warmth and answers surrounded them all.  Such confusion and hurt had passed, and broken out of the cocoon, the once-caterpillar, now-butterfly let out a sigh of satisfaction and joy.


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