#11. Witness an amazing natural phenomenon.

When you are young and the world is but an oyster fresh from the sea dripping with life’s little fulfillment’s; when every grain of sand is a bit of magic to behold; when living each day brings one to another the sound of every child’s laughter; and together they are all rolled into the folds of a single blade of grass; that is a life worth living.

From this grass, each life blossoms out of the seeds of necessity. Nurtured by the words of generations who have planted wondrous ideas and possibilities for the young to feast upon. We must take hold of it. Living passionately to inspire and create more beauty within the world than what seems infinitely impossible. From the ashes of our birth and the pain, heartache, sorrow, and woe of all that came before us; a bounty of love and acceptance will make every cup runneth over. From this cup we shall all sip until we are drunk with the spirit.

As I often stumble through life, inebriated with this idea of living; I find myself looking for inspiration. Often I do not notice that all around me are people, places, and things that bring forth such goodness. I would like to believe that I also exude such goodness, however, I must continually transform myself into the man that I strive to be.

Like the caterpillar that crawls on the earth, moving steadily through the grass until one day it finds a tree. The tree stands before the caterpillar like a mountain, something it must cross over; deeply rooted to the earth. The caterpillar contemplates his options. Should he climb the tree or simply continue on the same path around it? Looking upward toward the sky, the caterpillar envisions all of the possibilities above him. While just around the corner, there is also a future which he cannot see. Though neither option is a dangerous one for the caterpillar, he must make a choice, for if he stands in one spot for the rest of his life he will surely die.

It is not until the caterpillar decides to climb the tree that he will nibble at its leafy vegetation. Sucking on the nutrients that the tree freely offers him, the caterpillar will grow full and fall asleep taking shelter in the home he has built. While he sleeps his body will transform. When he awakens, the caterpillar will be refreshed, ready to begin again. This time, stretching his new wings, he will fly from tree to tree, breathing deeply the scent of the flowers that are in bloom. Life is beautiful; he is beautiful; and beauty is all that he sees.

It was not until recently that I began to see things so clearly. Struggling for many years, the way a caterpillar does; trying to cope with the pain of my past and searching for inspiration to continue this journey. I found myself in the most unlikely of places.

In the heat of an August summer in St. Louis, Missouri my fiancé and I visited the city zoo. As we moved through the perimeters, shuffled by many day after day pushing strollers of sleepy children, we made our way to the butterfly garden. Stepping foot inside the enclosed jungle of flowering trees and vines snaking across the observatory, our eyes moved with every flutter of wings that rustled the leaves hanging overhead. For a moment I could not speak. My breath was caught in my throat and all I could do was smile in amazement of this Eden. How something so beautiful could even exist, I did not know, but, like the butterflies flying overhead, I knew I was in good company.

Rise above. Keep climbing upward. It’s my time to fly.


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