Mandan News

Breaking out of the cocoon

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First a word about the weather; it sure was nice to have a few days above freezing last week, but even then the wind speeds seemed to exceed the temperature readings … 30 above with a 20mph wind is still cold … thus I plan to continue complaining about winter until it goes away.

So my wonderments seem to continue distracting me from reality. My mom ended up in the hospital the other day and when you’re 87, that’s a big deal. At this writing I’m not sure if or when she’ll recover from pneumonia, but I do have to affirm her sister Margeret’s observation that “getting old ain’t for sissies.”

For as long as I can remember, Mom has had all kinds of struggles with her throat. It all started with a botched thyroid operation before I was born. When I was in the second grade, Mom was sent to Mayo Clinic, where they improved her breathing and swallowing but left her with a whispering voice. Undaunted, Mom raised three kids who can pick her voice out of a crowd of thousands. For some odd reason, life handed mom this handicap and she’s handled it well for over 60 years.

For those of you who don’t know, when a person gets a tracheotomy that affects their vocal cords they have to re learn how to talk by using their bellies and lungs more than you and I do … it can be a struggle to hold a conversation … but not for Mom. Her voice may have changed, but it seems to me that she has always found something to talk about.

As you can imagine, Mom’s hospitalization has caused not only her but me as well to consider our mortality. So there I was out for a walk last Sunday and as usual my body went on auto pilot as my mind drifted off into other things.

It was a pleasant day to walk; the sun was out, very little wind and the temp in the low 30s above zero. I drifted off and began to wonder about the butterfly, which to me is a wonder-filled symbol of the after life concept.

Butterflies begin their life cycle as a caterpillar. For some unknown rationale the caterpillar weaves itself into a cocoon … and shortly thereafter emerges as a butterfly … what a miracle!

I’m not sure what happens to the butterfly, but I can’t help concluding that this insect is a great example that life goes on once we’re done here. To me, life here seems like some sort of incubator that prepares us to metamorphosize into something else.

So given all that, I wondered if the butterfly remembers ever being a caterpillar, and although I couldn’t answer the question, it seems to me that if it does, then my other theories about life after death may hold some merit.

As a refresher, I’m of a mind that all we get to take with us from here is what we know, and it seems to me that once we know enough, we are transported to our next adventure. OK, call me crazy; you won’t be the only one.

So if any of you out there know the answer to my butterfly remembering when it was a caterpillar, I’d sure like to know because if I’m right, then I sure got a lot more to learn before I get there …. So I suggest that while we await the answer we should continue doing all we can to leave this place better off than we found it.