With three daughters under the age of four, I have read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” more times than the average man. For the uninformed, this is the tale of caterpillar who breaks free from his egg with a serious hunger. After five days of colourfully-sketched fruit, he goes on a dietary tear, eating his way through desserts and delicacies, meats and treats. A stomachache lands him back at a green leaf feast. By this time, our tiny protagonist has become a pudgy worm on the verge of cocooning. The finale of the book begins on the second-last page:
Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out, and… (final page turn here)
He was a beautiful butterfly!
[The story can be viewed HERE, if you wish.]
A colourful story of how worms become butterflies, this children’s book has yet to educate me on what really happens. How does a slinking and slimy caterpillar become a soaring and stunning butterfly? What magical tailor lives in that cocoon to design, craft, and attach those wings to that thing?
It is no error that we use the word metamorphosis to describe this process:
A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.
No exaggeration is necessary to tie the term “miracle” to such a definition, yet the reminder quickly follows: “This is natural.”
A paradoxical phrase. Continue reading