The caterpillar shakes in time lapse like one possessed. It shrugs off its skin, like an overcoat, wads it up and sets it aside. You’d think you would be able to see it now, the real thing, the caterpillar naked, shorn of ornament and true, but underneath the mask of colored bands lies armor. We can never see the transformation itself: the rearrangement of cells, the shifting of body parts, the dissolution.
Inside the chrysalis, nothing has a name, but then, before the conscious idea of a form even emerges, the goo inside the armor aligns itself, the unnamed and unnameable cells have been shunted into a pattern and suddenly there is a body. The wings are carefully folded in on themselves, like a parachute ready for use, except that no one has folded them. Instead the cells have just arrived in their places to tell a story.
Once upon a time there were wings. We don’t even know what they look like yet, but we are becoming these wings.
The story breathes and the cells remember. And in remembering, they discover what wings are. The breath of capillary action moves through the wings and they become what they always were, what they were even when the caterpillar was scrunching along eating leaves. It could feel their presence, on another plane, waiting, whispering their story. As the imago emerges from its armor, the cells remember and slowly tell the story of wings.
What story do your cells remember?