– geoffrey chaucer, prologue to the canterbury tales
– t. s. eliot, the wasteland
growth is never easy. change, even wanted change full of passionate intensity, takes an immense amount of energy. it can be exhausting. and sometimes it asks of us absolutely everything.
while tadpoles slowly grow legs and their tails disappear and some inner changes occur that allow them to complete their lifecycle as frogs (and it is incredible)… this is not what happens to a caterpillar that enters a cocoon and emerges a butterfly. a caterpillar actually breaks itself down into a kind of primordial soup. it is no longer a living thing at all. and from that soup, the pieces are gathered and rearranged to form a completely new life. it’s amazing. it’s beautiful. it’s Terrifying.
some of our changes as humans happen because we simply grow up. physically, we become taller, our skin collects freckles and eventually wrinkles, we develop very different bodies with unique capabilities that our child bodies did not have. and we are quite present through all of this, even if some changes seem to appear between one glance in the mirror and the next. i remember many fitful nights when i was young, when i could feel my legbones stretching into their new shape, and i writhed in bed, unable to escape the processes happening inside me.
yet other changes happen because we experience and learn. things happen to us, those things have consequences, and we develop new rules and patterns to help us avoid or achieve certain outcomes. every relationship has some benefit to us, or we wouldn’t maintain it. from food and water to love and intimacy, we seek out what brings us pleasure and find ways to fulfill our simpler and more complicated needs. sometimes along the way we burn a hand, or break a heart. but slowly we learn to move like water around the life-sharpened stone. we soften our shores. we become comfortable. we relish the end of the draught.
the sleeping limb feels nothing but the sleeping limb cannot bear any weight. so,
the cocoon of my becoming.
both torment and necessity.