I’ve been away this weekend, down in the old gold-mining town of Thames on the Coromandel Peninsula, staying with good friends. Driving through the old Victorian streets of this town, with many buildings from the era of the gold rush still evident, I cannot but be aware of the passing of time. And then I look down at my own hands clutching the steering wheel, and find that small jolt of disappointment upon seeing how very old they are looking. There are spots and blemishes where there once were none, and wrinkles that have replaced the plump elastic flesh. It set me to pondering some things.
It wasn’t so long ago that I was a quite different looking person. A mere ten years between the photos in the pics above if you are merely looking at the external evidence. And yet, WITHIN, I am the same – in fact – I am improved. I’ve had ten more years of adventures and rich life experience, none of which I regret. Personality, spirit, presence, are all quintessentially me, but the outward vessel that contains me, is subject to the ravages of time. To a certain degree I try and stem that tide, but it is a losing battle.
That got me thinking even more (it’s a good hour and a half from Auckland to Thames – plenty of time to ponder.) And here’s where my own expectations of life may differ a great deal from yours, but I’m putting them out there; it’s MY blog after all.
I think of this life on the planet as the visible part – the bit parallel to the pupae and larvae or caterpillar stage. We only ever get to see the caterpillar, and it can sure be flexible and hungry and colourful and moving for much of its life. In fact, in its youngest phase it is the most vital, and then it simply gets slower and fat.
This world is focussed on the youthful stage of that larvae – the agile, flexible and attractive. But inevitably, that caterpillar has had its fill of life and just wants to curl up and die. And that is all we see. Something has gone from our sight and hardened up and simply moved out of our plane of existence. Away.
There are caterpillars of all sorts on this plant, and they each know that at some point they will want to do the same. They sense they will have ‘had their fill’ and slow down, and curl up, hanging by tenuous thread to the life they’ve known. And then quite suddenly they are no more. The rest of the larvae believe what they will about that process. . . and eat and eat and eat, never completely knowing or seeing the end result. (Their eyesight is so poor they use their antennae to ‘see’).
This is where the analogy takes a leap for me into new territory. You see, I believe there is an ‘outside of space and time’, – another realm, as it were. We, metaphorically, place that chrysalis in the ground and mourn the loss.
But life is just beginning. Something completely new is happening: transformation. And outside of the visible realm, this happens:
The essence that was inside that first wee caterpillar is still there, but there is NO resemblance to the creature that is airing its brilliant wings in preparation for flight. THIS is the creature that was always present, no matter what body it held, however THIS final form is its finest and best.
Truly, I can live with my spots and wrinkles. There is MORE life not less coming. There is bigger and brighter and more brilliant and beyond the imagination better coming. I believe that in a profound ‘its time to cling with a thread to a twig’ kind of way. I know it, like that caterpillar knows that IT IS TIME.
There, I’ve said it. The end. (My blog, remember?)