By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

Once upon a time there was a very beautiful butterfly ... but she wasn't always beautiful.
In the early days she wasn't much to look at at all;
she existed as an awkward, homely caterpillar undesirable and unappealing. Looks and comments were of the negative sort and disapproving glances were observed with frequency.
Everybody passed the little caterpillar by ... except for a certain tree.
An aged Elm perceived the lonely caterpillar's state and called out to her.
He invited her to make a home with him and rest for awhile.
The homely little caterpillar found great comfort in the Elm and abandoned herself to him in an instant. She was given and granted every accommodation by him and told she could lodge in the place of her choosing wherever she should like upon the great tree. The caterpillar looked up and down the tree and finally located a special twig somewhere in-between the top and bottom and she crawled her way there on expanded belly.
She felt safe on the Elm and appreciated his company.
She hung herself upside down in a most curious, suicidal fashion from a twig, and began to perform the traditional, sacred ritual of cocoon knitting.
Working with almost invisible threads, she created a narrow silk haven and locked herself inside of it upon its completion.
The little ugly caterpillar could no longer be seen.
She found the cocoon a place of warmth, comfort, and tranquility. Indeed, she liked it so much, she had no desire to escape it.
A great fatigue overcame her and she fell into a deep sleep ... nestled safely in her cocoon, on a twig of the great Elm.
A subtil transformation began its slow work through the veins of the homely caterpillar. Curious colors began to weave themselves marvelously into the homely, lumpy body and begin to suggest some possibility and potential for transformation.
But it took time ...
Until one day, the caterpillar woke from her long warm sleep, feeling a tightness and narrowness closing in on her. In her heavy, dazed condition, she tried to remember where she was and how she'd gotten there but it all seemed like a distant memory. With a great yawn and stretch, she discovered a new force and energy escaping her. Something she'd never experienced before was being produced by her ...
The sensation and feeling of wings.
The silk threads tore.
The cocoon ripped.
And something more than a caterpillar emerged:
A Beautiful Butterfly.

It took quite a little while for the caterpillar to understand what she'd become, and it took quite an effort to transition into the new realities from which she'd earlier begun.
Some days she still felt like a slow moving caterpillar but her wings constantly reminded her that she was now a very beautiful butterfly.
Still ... she wondered to herself:
 Was she a caterpillar or was she a butterfly?
Deep down inside she knew she was both though outwardly no one could see it.
And no one else would probably believe it ... except for the Elm.
The great Elm was delighted to shelter and haven his beautiful friend. It wasn't the first time he'd witnessed a transformation and it wouldn't be his last.
And in this way and in this story ... I simply wonder about the way we look at others.
I wonder what could happen if we chose to see what "could be" instead of what temporarily was.
As for me, I spread my wings, and fly open and free.
And where others see caterpillars,
I see butterflies.
What do you see?