To keep my mind sane and my body from imploding, I've been doing a lot of walking. Sometimes so erratically paced I don't even bring my dog to avoid dragging him behind me when I just have to move. Sometimes with sunglasses so passerbys don't see my random fits of tears. Sometimes a slog of fighting the bugs, the sweat, the climb.
And on these walks and even around my home, the butterflies seem to be EVERYWHERE. Perfect swallowtails dancing around in glee celebrating their short time to shine. I wrote about butterflies in this post a while back, and they are overwhelming my consciousness again while I watch the events that are unfolding in my country.
Knowing the butterfly life cycle as I do, whenever they start fluttering into my life and mind, I assess what part of the cycle is showing itself. With three months of pandemic lockdown behind us and cultural upheaval in front, it doesn't even take an ex-butterfly garden tour guide like me to tell you what phase were in here: it's the chrysalis 100%.
As I detail in my old post, the interesting thing about the chrysalis is that what actually happens in that magical little pouch dangling underneath a leaf isn't what one might think. It's not a maturation process, where the caterpillar sprouts legs and wings and then breaks out in the final masterpiece that it was meant to be all along. Rather, inside that chrysalis is a breakdown of all the caterpillar was, and then from the goo, a creature with not one thing in common with that caterpillar is built ground up.
That's the messy process of transformation, my friends, and we are in the middle of it.
We cannot avoid the piercing sound of the alarms drawing our attention to systemic racism and its suffocating and life crushing effects. Sometimes when it seems the hate and political division are growing bigger than the bridges we've started building over the divides, I feel overwhelmed with a sense of worry that we may be in the foretold end times.
As much as I hope for the butterfly to emerge from the chrysalis, for a beautiful, peaceful, united human race to emerge from this time of turmoil, there are so many signs that maybe we won't come together and figure all this shit out. In the face of all the divisions keeping us from effectively working together, we have other big problems too: environmental degradation, failing education systems, dysfunctional healthcare, increasingly destructive weapons in the hands of increasingly divisive leaders... Maybe we won't be able to do the hard work ahead of building an entirely new way of being out of these building blocks of what has come before.
But maybe we will. Maybe this is an ending, one that has and will continue to have a lot of grief as part of it, but there is actually a light at the end of the tunnel. A breakthrough of a new and beautiful way that we can only imagine from where we sit.
Only time can really tell, and even though I have to wrestle with my doubts here and there, I'm forever and always on the side of hope. No matter if it seems naive or annoyingly earnest, I'll continue to cultivate all the hope, faith and vision I possibly can about the potential of us as a country and as a global human race to find our way through these times of transformation.
And this gem of a song (the first one in the video below) has really been helping me to keep all that rich and wonderful faith in tact. Thank you much, Ben Harper.
And thanks to you there reading this. I appreciate you putting a little of your time and attention here, and I hope this post or this beautiful song helps you in keeping the faith that all this change is leading somewhere beautiful.