October 22nd was shimmering, taking the medal for the most beautiful day of the year, and that’s saying something in the bitter end of October. The air pressure was low so the mackerel sky soared above us like a huge northerly swimming fish. The trees in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden were turning yellows and reds like the wings of monarch butterflies. I believe there is potent magic that comes at this time of year. Quiet and efficient magic.
But it was unseasonably warm.
But it felt like the shire was changing.
We live our lives knowing there is no solution to the immense encroaching tools that are shaping our future. Arms of a breathing beast elbow deep in clay that would not wait for us to shift our habits. Maybe the journey to save this planet is being made already and we are not the heroes. Maybe there is a journey being made in a young person’s dream on the edge of Mount Doom. Maybe one ring really will bind us. Or are we inside an ornamented chrysalis about to emerge?
Butterflies changed color in the soot of the industrial revolution in a phenomenon called 'industrial melanism.' What will happen next? Will their wings perform a disappearing act?
Mid to late October is the season of migrating butterflies. They spread over the city like small wishes, above the playing fingers of children in East Harlem. Monarchs are fast developing, with 10 to 14 days in a cocoon, unlike their counterparts, the cicada that take years in the mold. It was only a month ago that I found furry caterpillars all over Brooklyn coffee shops. They wriggled on my skirt in the billows of coffee air. In that amount of time these beings have changed to thousands upon thousands of monarch butterflies that are beginning their journey South, to Mexico and beyond.
Butterflies originated in Asia: the discovery of the late Lolita author that proved to be true years after his death by Lepidoptera experts. Butterflies flitted across oceans in five waves and settled in every climate but Antarctica.
And for those who stayed on the Asian continent, let’s pour one out for the genocide of the silk worm. He is taken mid transformation, when his chrysalis is a fuzzy white pellet. All for the sake of luxury.
How small the psyche that Carl Jung compared it to a butterfly. A tripping creature that looks like it barely moves from one place to another. But there it goes. Despite everything, it appears weak but remains strong. Some species feed on open wounds or bodily secretions. Does that mean that we’re flowers?