My Butterfly Song

My world began inside an egg.
I was growing and changing.
Sometimes I had to struggle to adapt
to my changing size and shape, my wants and needs.
The changes seemed natural.
Some happened outside of my control.
Limitations of money, of location, of mobility, of age,
could all be overcome or shape my adaptations.
I slumbered, nourished and protected.

When I entered the world of the caterpillar everything changed.
I had changed.
Now danger and death had become part of my world.
There was no way to go back to sleep again
and expect to wake up where I was before.
There was no “do over.”
My responsibilities were to survive and manage
the changing challenges of each new day.
To meet each new revelation:
inequality, systemic racism, selfishness, corruption.
I have no map or time table for my journey.
My brain and my body must find my path;
I am in survival mode.

Who could have imagined this new life?
Who could have prepared us?
We need a whole new set of skills as we adapt.
Reading and listening,
Now must include finding and evaluating the sources of information.
Now must include evaluating how the numbers are being manipulated
to spin the conclusions.
Now must include recognizing “the facts” which are included and excluded...
Social Studies
Now must include an understanding of the assumptions
about people, justice, freedom and happiness
on which they are based.
The Arts
Now must have a valued role in everyday life.
I approach this new feast as a guest.
I will be moderate and grateful
as I visit each flower
trying out my new wings.

—Laura A. Smith

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