The Monarch Butterfly
The monarch butterfly is known by scientists as ‘Danaus plexippus,’ which in Greek literally means “sleepy transformation.” The name evokes the species’ ability to hibernate and metamorphize.”
I didn’t recognize the neighbor girl the other day. She was on the corner of our street all legs and curly long hair and even her blue eyes looked different—curious and then challenging as if I’d caught her in the reverie of being away from home without her mom and I saw how wonderful and exhilarating that felt and she saw that I saw it and then without words I said, “It’s not you. You’re too young. You and Harper were just playing on my driveway with dolls. You were having a wedding and when it got too dark you thought, ‘Perfect, we will shine flashlights for the aisle.'”
“It is me,” she told me back when she lifted her chin and put a hand on her hip, and that’s about all there is to say regarding a conversation that happens nonverbally. She continued her walk away from home, and I continued my walk toward it.
It wasn’t quite dinnertime, but the day was no longer new. The golden hour was here, shining light on all that had been done and left undone, and all the world moved in response with a dull hum: a little girl sat on a swing, one leg dangling, sometimes touching the ground, sometimes not. A teenage boy sprawled crookedly on a lawn chair, scrolling his phone with one hand and pushing and pulling a basketball along the ground with the other. The neighbor girl, grown and still growing, shuffling and strutting around the neighborhood.
The most dramatic moment happened when I found a caterpillar—plump and bursting with green—crawling on the sidewalk toward the wildflowers.
Is this what it’s like before you become something different? The only way to bear the change is to swaddle yourself up and rest?
When the girls were babies, we would wrap them in a cocoon of a blanket because infants wake themselves up with the twitching of their limbs—fluttering wings not yet ready to fly.
Each morning they woke up the same and different; a little more of themselves, a little less in need of being contained.
Try It: Monarch Butterfly
This week, read about the Monarch Butterfly, and create a poem from what you’ve learned.
Featured photo by Valeriia Neganova Creative Commons, via Unsplash. Post by Callie Feyen.