Tuesday, August 21, 2007
The Butterfly That Stayed
He peered through the small crack of an unfolding chrysalis and had a glimpse of a pervasively green world awaiting his emergence. He was feeling a bit encumbered by the humid enclosure and his still to be unfurled wings was wrapped by a fragile gossamer thread which in any instant would break and allow him to struggle out of his dim and cozy comfort into the dangerous but exciting world of bright lights and frenetic flutters.
As he eased himself out of the dried hatch, his left wing pushed out to a stretch that was amazingly far and, now, gaining more confidence he did the same to his right wing. The slightly moist new wings quivered with clumsiness and with impatience. It was an impatience to become a glorious and delicate symmetrical pair of wings that would allow him to cavort with a hundred others who have emerged at almost the same instance in the flower garden.
He did seem much like the others and despite the grace and agility by which he flitted from flower to flower it was something that got lost in the uniformity of the choreograph-like movements and in the sameness of shimmering brilliance that white butterflies exuded as a bunch on a sunlit garden.
But he sensed that he was different. Sure, he was a beautifully emerged white butterfly but so were the others. He knew that on the day that he came out as a butterfly he would be destined to do a singular act. He would play a role that the others despite their resplendence would just watch in envy.
He was born in a butterfly farm. Together with hundreds of other butterflies they were being farmed and sold later on to grace all sorts of celebrations. Today they were off to be a part of the funeral rites of an important person. He was a celebrity, a good husband, caring father and a doting grandfather. In his lifetime he had been well known and loved by many not only by fans but by those who have been close to him as family, as business associate, as benefactor and as a personal friend.
Butterflies are representations of the Psyche or the soul and in the rites they were to be released to signify the freedom of the soul from its mundane shackles. It is not only for this significance that butterflies are used they are also an awesome yet solemn sight as their fluttering whiteness blur the air in exuberant flight.
At the end of the mass he was released from the paper cocoon that held him up to the right moment. He felt an ecstatic relief to be suddenly freed from the harsh paper cocoon and seeing the others flitting in groups and others unable to get their bearings with the sudden burst of freedom flew erratically in singles, some alighting in the candelabra, some in the coiffures of grieving ladies and then some on the pews.
He hovered for a while amidst the swirl of white butterflies. Then he sensed a powerful presence that held him and that he knew it was him. He willingly surrendered his body to him. In an instant he was him and he was nothing.
He has fulfilled his act of kindness. He gave his body to become the vessel of the soul of the departed in order to console the grieving widow with memorable last moments with the beloved.
The white butterfly stayed on with the casket. It made the trip from the church to crematorium. It perched steadfastly at the head of the casket despite well meaning shooing-aways from some members of the grieving kin. When finally they had to bring the casket to the crematorium chamber the white butterfly skipped and alighted on the index finger of the widow as if in reassurance that he is with them through all these trials and would continue to be by their side in the coming years.