Lessons of a butterfly
Whoever watches the magic show of the chrysalis gains the gift of hope. To see the monarch caterpillar dissolve inside its gold studded pendant of liquid jade is to see and become witness to the miracle of metamorphosis. Before our mystified eyes, a true phoenix appears to die a watery death only to transubstantiate, break free and rise like a living flame on bright orange wings. We watch in awe. We may not understand, and yet we now know it can be done; a second transformative birth is not just a dream, and so we cheer.
We are cousin to that caterpillar crawling on milkweed and steadily eating its leaves in the corner of our gardens. We too have the metamorphic gift. The time has come, the time is now with ten million voices nature calls us to our own journey of transformation.
Voices from the droughtlands of the west call out for a wise water ethic and for federal climate legislation they fear may never come or come too late. Thousands of wild voices plead with us desperately to adopt more sustainable ways to grow our food before they fall permanently silent. Forests of great trees whisper warnings on gentle breezes about the folly of destroying grove after grove of woody carbon eaters just when we need them the most; all for more food oils, meat and, of course, money.
Chorusing voices rise in painful harmony from the drowned and flooded, now in Texas, now in Detroit, now from almost everywhere imaginable – even Bayfield County Wisconsin. The weather gone wild, swinging from one to another extreme. Flooding along the east coast, record heat and wild fires to the west. Mother nature is telling us to “Leave it in the ground!” We have abundant sunshine and energetic winds just waiting to be cleanly harvested. We have fabulous, smooth, reliable electric cars if only we would unlock our mental doors and open our minds to them.
In the west, in the Amazon, around the world and even in the Arctic, wildfires turn more and more of our carbon eating allies into carbon emitters; compounding our climate troubles instead of helping dial them down. As the permafrost melts before our eyes, researchers warn that a tipping point is near and that once reached will make hothouse earth pretty much inevitable. I do not wish this for my children and grandchildren; none of us do. The call for our triumphant, life affirming metamorphosis rings out!
Our metamorphosis must be close at hand. How long can we postpone the inevitable? It will not be one of freshly painted wings. It will, instead be spiritual, a re-framed consciousness. It is our destiny without a doubt. We will leave behind our environmental dimness. The folly of placing money and the accumulation of stuff ahead of the well being of the life nurturing planet we depend on will dissolve and be transformed. A new consciousness will take its place. We will make our decisions tempered first by a consummate care for land, water, air and climate – life!
We will recognize the planetary wisdom of the garden and buying locally grown food. No need to deliver from far, far away what we now grow right at home.
When we do buy, we will forgo the goods in plastic out of love and respect for life and out of love and care for our own bodies. CAFOs and huge chemically dependent industrial agriculture will give way to small, organic farmers bent on enriching their soils and preserving the multitude of life on the home farmstead.
In finding our energy from the sun and wind, and using it to brighten our nights, heat our homes and travel electrically, we will follow First Nation traditions of care for the coming seven generations. With our new consciousness we will finally understand that the natural heritage we bequeath our children is far more important than dollars and cents and a garage full of toys. Mother nature will smile radiantly and so will our grandchildren.
We watch, we wait for the human chrysalis to form. The world aches. May this miraculous human metamorphosis of the spirit come very soon. This ground we tread upon is sacred ground. In honoring it and treating it with reverence we do likewise to ourselves.