Consider the Butterflies

I don’t think many of us consider, when we first find our life’s purpose, what we will be like at the end of our journeys. I know that, when I first consciously said to myself, “I’m choosing to be a great pianist,” and then began to actively make decisions that moved me closer to that destination, I had no idea what would be in my path, let alone how it would shape me and the character I would develop because of those things.

Of course, we all have a basic natural way of being, and this stays consistent, I think, throughout life. For example, I’m not going to change from someone compassionate into someone who has absolute disregard for other people, even if I become more single-minded in my quest.

Thinking along these lines, I considered the fawn. It doesn’t notice as its spots disappear. It hardly contemplates as it changes from a creature designed to melt into the sun-dappled, shifting light of the forest’s edge to one who is the drab brown-grey of dead grass and frost-hardened earth.

Or the caterpillar, who spends its days eating, growing in its wormy, furry skin, keeping all its legs sorted out, only to spin itself a silken cocoon and pass through the strange process of metamorphosis to emerge some time later as something with dazzling colors that can fly.

To be able to fly. To be able to go through all the hidden changes that will transform us. To go from a place where we can only look up, only focus on what we will fill our bellies with to a world of color, light, and height.

Today, sitting alone at the piano, it may seem to me as if I can’t make any of my fingers move the way they should to produce the sounds captured in dots on a page. Anyone who attends a recital I give next winter won’t see that caterpillar, either.

Their only perspective, unless they take time to consider, is the perspective of the butterfly, the flights of beautiful notes and seemingly effortless speed.

And, as with all other things in nature, it is a never-ending cycle. I must return, again and again, with each new piece, to the place of the caterpillar and begin my transformation anew.

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