The Butterfly Effect… Or Not
I draw a lot of inspiration and strength from the things I see around me.
Somehow I believe there is a direct line of significance joining us and the seemingly mundane things we often take for granted. There is a lot we can learn from these creatures we see and hear about everyday; from the harmless Ants, to Big Cats.
However, the subject of my reflection today is the Butterfly.
We all know that butterflies are beautifully amazing creatures, but not many of us have really taken the time to watch a butterfly develop. From my elementary biology, I learnt that the butterfly has four (4) stages of development. Each of these stages is very crucial and has its own significance. I’ll attempt to describe each briefly to buttress the points I’m trying to drive home.
STAGE 1 - THE EGG: An adult butterfly finds a plant and lays its egg on the leaves. After some days, these eggs hatch and young ones known as the larvae emerge from them and then the next stage of development begins…
STAGE 2 - THE LARVAE: This stage is also known as the caterpillar stage. The caterpillar is a very hungry organism. It first feeds on the egg shell and leaf from which it is born, and then goes on to stuff itself with the leaves and flowers all around it, growing plumper and longer everyday through a series of molts in which it sheds it skin. One day, the caterpillar stops eating, and so begins another stage in its journey…
STAGE 3 - THE PUPA: At this stage, the larvae hangs upside from a leaf and spins itself into a silky and shiny protective casing known as the chrysalis. The pupa remains motionless and seemingly dormant within this casing but it is at this point that it radically transforms its body structure, eventually emerging as the beautiful butterfly…
STAGE 4 - THE BUTTERFLY 🦋: The first thing an adult butterfly does after emerging is to find a mate and reproduce itself. All it does pretty much afterwards is it goes about giving back by pollinating flowers. It is a time to give back!
Here’s how I choose to interpret these stages
1. THE EGG STAGE - POTENTIAL
This is a stage of potential. Each of the egg has the potential to become a full grown adult butterfly but many do not due to several obvious reasons (i’ll leave you to fill them in for yourself).
2. THE CATERPILLAR STAGE - CONSUMPTION
A caterpillar is known for consumption and destruction. Even the leaves that protected it during its incubation is not left out in the process. It eats and eats and continues to eat everything in its path. Many people hate caterpillars because they are a symbol of destruction. They are a nightmare and source of concern to farm owners and garden tenders.
3. THE PUPA STAGE - INTROSPECTION and TRANSITION
This is usually a dormant stage of development immediately following the larva stage. The butterfly remains inactive outwardly. It may look like nothing is going on but big changes are happening on the inside. Special cells that were present in the larva are now growing rapidly. They will become the legs, wings, eyes and other parts of the adult butterfly. Many of the original larva cells will provide energy for these growing adult cells.
4. THE ADULT BUTTERFLY - REPRODUCTION
The caterpillar’s job was to eat. The adult’s job is to mate, lay eggs and pollinate flowers. Adult butterflies are constantly on the look out to reproduce and when a female lays their eggs on some leaves, the butterfly life cycle will start all over.
As humans, we go through all of the 4 stages at one point or the other in our lives. If you take a deep inward look at your life, you can relate directly to one or more of these stages.
However, while the butterfly never remains in one stage of development for its entire life, a lot of humans become comfortable being in one stage of their development, especially the caterpillar stage — only feeding on resources instead of growing and reproducing, becoming stagnant rivers and we know that…
A river that refuses to flow will eventually stink
No matter what stage you find yourself in, see it as a passage unto the next.
I dream of a world where each person, like the adult butterfly, lives with one and only one purpose: adding color to their world.