From the very moment that the word"metamorphosis" was first introduced into my thinking... its might has followed and directed my footsteps continuously. No longer can I recall exactly its moment of origin... for is now veiled in far too many layers of memory and experience to recall the precise moment of its arrival.
Nevertheless, I can offer that it was the very first of many "Epiphanies" which I have experienced on my journey to discover meaning and direction along this sixty-eight year pilgrimage.The wonder... even in its very sound... has continuously excited my senses and curiosity over my entire life time. The notion and process of something rather ordinary... inert and dare I say even ugly being transformed through time and effort into something unexpectedly and unbelievably beautiful... has continued to intrigue me.
I believe... that my preoccupation not only with the word itself... but as well with the process of transformation and emergence has led "Me" to this very moment in the Present in all aspects of my own... "metamorphosis." My earliest exposure to this term and process... I can only guess most likely revealed itself to "Me" in a junior elementary school Natural Science lesson. The subject was for absolute certain, the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly. I can, in truth remember the exact feeling of awe and elation that entered my thoughts and being at that precise moment.
I believe that because I was likely about the age of ten... struggling in a very Mormon environment to become /emerge (at my Dad's urging seeing his example)... a "free thinker" to make sense of abstract and intangible images and teachings of "ideas" such as God... Heaven and above all... " the notion of "resurrection'.... or being reborn or restored to life after dying. These were not only intriguing to my ten year old intellect... but at the very same time fear-munging to me as well. Heavy stuff for "a larva" to chew on"... let alone swallow... without questions... and hopefully some kind of answers!
"Don't Fence Me In!", a canvas 30x24 inches from several years ago... I think, naturally weaves together my spiritual and artistic intentions using the Monarch in conjunction the cast ironwork fence to create a very clear visual metaphor. One need not be deeply intellectual...or even "literate" in the sense that society measures expressive language to feel... and to fully understand what this image intends. The image states unequivocably the message that I have carried on behalf of my Self... and the countless children in our educational system who can only express themselves eloquently using another "voice."
It requires little imagination to understand the fear and uncertainty that this last term that the "idea" of Death instils upon a child who has scarcely begun their own earthly journey. The total understanding and acceptance of the "possibility"... and the certainty of Death, even in the human life cycle is a life time process totally which tests and eludes all but a select few of us right up to our own demise. Plainly and simply stated... it is scary stuff!
This first clue... the Monarch Butterfly... as tangible evidence of the Absolute wonder and mystery of Creation and the Creator continues to fuel my curiosity, thinking, my work as an artist... and my Hope... in the Fall season of my own life cycle. Though I have only once used the Monarch Butterfly as a subject in my paintings... I have fully embraced the notion of "metamorphosis" in my working artistic method. My process may always follow the same early stages of development... but the ending, I hope is continually subject to a different outcome in the "adult" or finished state.
As well, the concept of"metamorphosis" has become the basis of my spiritual belief system. My sense of place and purpose in the Universe is based upon my firm belief that the Universe is governed by very precise fundamental Truths... and on every level of existence. We are but a single part in this complicated and grand scheme of organization... and subject to these same laws as much as any other species with which we share this earthly and celestial kingdom.
We are no more... or no less important... except - that we have the innate capacity to alter the workings and outcomes effecting this organization through our care-less development... use and misuse of its resources. We are the only current existent species able to assume "stewardship"... as opposed to the biblically spoken "dominion over" all things on land... in the air or in the water. The outlook... and the outcomes... employing either of these two ideologies as our yard stick is critically divergent in terms of the sustainability of life as we know it... for all species... including mankind.
Back to the Monarch... and my main thrust in this post. Metamorphosis can be seen to play an intrinsic apart in the development of exploration... agrarian to urban growth settlement growth and technological development. It can be seen to be the determining force of current shifts in cultural movement and financial emergence around the globe. Combined with more efficient and faster passage of information through education and electronic stimuli... this metamorphosis has sped up in these areas of change so rapidly, that the outcomes no longer requires several decades.The transition pattern of the past has given way to an outright demand for necessary change for the masses in mere weeks. Social chaos and armed conflict has replaced normal change through developmental readiness and consensus for changes to be made.
The Monarch, we already acknowledge faces grave consequences... and indeed extinction, as a result of the interruption by man and his intrusive actions which jeopardize the Monarch's habitat... specialized food supply... migration paths to wintering sanctuaries in Mexico. The monarch is but one species under assault. Birds... fish in all waters fresh or salt... amphibians such as frogs... honey bees which pollinate flowering plants and trees are others which come quickly to mind. Recent research indicates that this global problem has reached a state of critical mass.
Time... is quickly running out! Some damage is already accepted as irreversible. We have reached the very point prophesied years ago by Dr Seuss in "The Lorax." His work was not a child's tale. He had hoped that the parent reading this wonderful lesson to an impressionable child cradled in his or her arm would both see the message... and act together within their generation to address the problem created by greed and arrogance. Now ... it would seem, the seed has been left in the hands of our children to protect and to nurture.
The Monarch... if I might belabour my metaphor a bit longer... represents each of us in the world. We are all on separate journeys... no matter our marital status or situation. We come alone... from who knows where and after a lifespan that can vary from individual to to individual... we depart just as mysteriously as we arrived... to who knows where. These are the great and unanswerable questions of earthly life... and the Universe. For you see... we understand that the Universe is constantly morphing along with Time. Both are undoubtedly linked one to the other... I realize and can comprehend that fact. However... the likelihood of our discovering the knowledge to explain the sacredness of of the two questions and this vastness to me seem out of reach. Our species will not have sufficient time to do so... and perhaps that is a good thing... given the abhorrent travesty which we have created in only a few thousand years... in the entire scheme of things!
I will close today in Hope... and not pessimism. Man kind has the wonderful ability to learn from our mistakes and the problem-solving ability and skills to develop solutions. He has as well... as can be seen in his capacity to think and act nobly ... as seen in the legacy of beauty he has created in the Arts. My Hope is... that "He"... "We" can set aside greed and the need to control the lives and destinies of others... and in so doing... not "fence ourselves in. That prison is the worst kind of imprisonment... and its needless! Here's to Hope... and more evidence of our ability to create and affect a beautiful final stage in our metamorphosis!!!
Stay tuned for Stage / Part Two... which will focus on another Monarch of sorts... an adult "Butterfly" who I have most recently had the good fortune and privilege to discover... and to hold briefly in the palm of my hand . I think "She " took flight yesterday during our painting time together... "free" to be her beautiful creative Self! Judge for yourself next post!
Good Painting ... to ALL!