Yesterday an Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar chose a branch and settled into a state of grace in preparation for a process I cannot comprehend. A reinvention of Self. A metamorphosis, from one being to another. From twig-bound to flight; life on the wing.
Dare I compare my little novel to the miracle of metamorphosis? I think I do. I’ve written fifty-five thousand words of the seventy thousand I hope to write, which means my novel is poised for that final push. I worry about the ending but there is no turning back. It’s been a long, often frustrating journey and it isn’t over yet, but I see the light now. Surely this drudgery will end, but to what end?
Is that what the caterpillar was thinking?
Impossible, right? And yet it happens every day. I read that a caterpillar literally dissolves into itself, uses its own body as an energy source as it morphs into this magnificent thing. The process is almost incomprehensible to me, as is the metamorphosis of thought–to novel, painting, building, opus.
I watched the caterpillar tether itself to a branch. It had purged, lost half its body mass. Surely preparation for this moment took its toll. The same holds true for writer, artist, composer, visionary. Something drives us. We dare not stop.
In fifteen days, if the stars align, an outer shell will crack and an exquisite creature will emerge, dry her wings, and fly away. We hope our day will come–so we do what we can, then settle into that uncertain state of grace; waiting. Imagining what might happen, wondering what the future holds in store for us.
If we’re lucky, life on the wing.