I can’t say why, but it seems like I’ve been seeing a lot of butterflies these past few weeks. I would think that’s a spring thing, but clearly late winter is OK with them, too. I’ve seen some Monarchs, which I had heard were greatly reduced in numbers due to destruction of their traditional wintering places. Lots of those little white ones are flitting around too - are those Cabbage Butterflies? They’re beautiful and silent as they make their frenzied rounds in my yard.
Remember the science films that show their fascinating life cycle? They start out as caterpillars, which each voraciously until some inner mechanism tells them to prepare for a change, Then they fasten themselves to a branch with some silk and yikes! They spit open to reveal a chrysalis. How can a squirming caterpillar have a chrysalis inside?
It gets weirder - over some period, inside the chrysalis, the critter undergoes a complete makeover - it sprouts legs, antenna and scaly wings, all tightly wrapped up. Then when the time is right, that chrysalis splits open and a butterfly comes out.
But this final phase is not too quick - the butterfly has to extricate itself from its prison and at first, it looks like clothes you left in your suitcase too long. It’s all bent up, so the butterfly’s first act once free is to slowly, with seeming great effort, unfurl those wings and get its butterfly blood to pump through teeny tiny veins until it’s ready to fly.
This last process reminds me of what’s going to happen as bands start to get back together, after so many months of pandemic-related inactivity. We’ll all be like newborn butterflies - our musical wings bent, and crumpled. As we play together again, it’ll be like pumping blood through those musical wings. “How does that song go?”, we’ll mutter. “Who sings tenor on this? I can’t remember?”
It’ll be clunky and hesitant at first - lots of “crash and burns” as we work out the kinks. But with each passing moment, that musical blood will fill the right spots, and we’ll metamo
rphosize once again from ungainly “shelter-in-place” caterpillars to magnificent, graceful butterflies.
If this isn’t a good reason to take precautions (social distancing, wearing of masks in public, etc.) I don’t what is. Let’s hasten the day when we get to be those butterflies.
By Bruce Campbell