There once was this young boy. Wavy long hair covering equally his ears and sometimes his green, happy eyes flowing under the slight breeze of his Flames ball cap – a hopeful innocence clear from miles away. Every morning, with his backpack slung around both shoulders, he would wander off, balance-beaming the railway ties that lined the long, gravel driveway and make his way to the giant poplar tree in his family’s front yard before the school bus picked him up.
He looked up and down the bark of the giant poplar, amazed at the theatre of life held right in front of him. Ants, spiders, birds, bugs, beetles, everything! But he always looked past the other creatures and marvelled over one particular caterpillar that hid behind her own shadow on a big poplar leaf. This was his beautiful caterpillar. She didn’t know how beautiful should would one day become. But the boy knew.
Every morning once the boy found his beautiful caterpillar, he would whisper quietly the same thing; “Go on, beautiful. You can do it!”
But day after day, week after week, the boy found his beautiful caterpillar on the same big leaf, eyes closed, hiding behind her own shadow. She really didn’t know how to do it. She heard the boy. But she didn’t know how. She wanted to. But she just couldn’t do it.
Then one morning, a light rain drizzled the giant poplar and the canvas that was the young boy’s fascination. The young boy approached the tree as he always did, but to his dismay none of the bugs or birds or creatures were frolicking about the bark like usual. Except for his beautiful caterpillar. She was thriving in the rain. Thriving in the conditions where all the other bugs and birds and creatures hid. This was her moment.
The young boy then watched as his beautiful caterpillar flung herself from the edge of the big leaf, spiralling down towards the ground but at the same time wrapping herself up in a beautiful silk blanket. She carefully covered herself in a mighty layer of love and hope and hung upside down from the big leaf. Waiting. Thinking. Dreaming.
Days went by. The rains died down and the boy continued his ritual. It was early in spring and his beautiful caterpillar was just finding herself in her new, silk home. He trusted she’d find her way. He knew she would one day appear on that big leaf more beautiful than ever after she found what she needed inside her new, silk home.
Sure enough, one Thursday morning the young boy ventured to the giant poplar to see his beautiful caterpillar. He searched high, he searched low. But each branch of the giant poplar provided no clues to where his beautiful caterpillar was. He though to himself, “Could today be the day?”
Nervous with excitement, the young boy decided to give up looking for his beautiful caterpillar for that morning. His school bus was headed towards the end of his long, gravel driveway anyways.
But just as he skipped across the front yard, he felt a blast of fresh spring time air flow past his face. He looked down to his shoulder and immediately let out a gasp of excitement! There was his beautiful caterpillar, now an even more beautiful butterfly resting her wings as to say “Thank you!” before dancing east across the sky towards the clouds and faraway lands. She did it. The rains couldn’t stop her.
The young boy was very happy for his beautiful butterfly. She found her soul, and now she could dance and fly and dare to dream. It was bittersweet however, “what if she finds a new home?” the young boy thought.
Weeks went by. Every day the young boy checked the giant poplar, the big leaf, nothing yet. “One day she’ll be back.” he thought.
It was now early fall. Leaves started to turn colour from the once vibrant green to a fiery red, brown, yellow – camouflage to the sunrise that was now getting later into the prairie morning. Still, the boy noticed a shimmer in the distance in his walk over to the giant poplar.
Feeling full of anticipation, joy and glee the young boy hurried over and beamed a smile so wide the Grand Canyon would be jealous when he realized his dream had come true. His beautiful butterfly was back from her journey, dancing across the skies and back to the big leaf he had called home. Resting her beautiful wings as if to say “thank you!” before gracefully landing on the young boy’s outstretched, calming fingertips. The young boy then cleared his throat and wiped the single tear of happiness from his cheek and softly whispered, “I knew you would do it, beautiful.”