I saw an enormous, beautiful monarch butterfly on Santa Monica Boulevard, in the middle of Los Angeles. I used to see these creatures in droves floating between the redwoods of Northern California, but to come across one in the city is odd.
He was bobbing along the sidewalk, being tossed violently by the wake of passing cars, masked behind a plume of diesel exhaust. His lifestream, silent and gentle, went unnoticed by the roaring city around. Still, amid such boisterous indifference, he did not compromise his nature.
A person would have bought a sports car and taken a job at an advertising agency; he would have learned to speak in a new way and to care about new things. Another might have drank himself into the gutter and found refuge behind a shopping cart full of garbage.
But this was a butterfly, not a person, and butterflies are not condemned to suffer such disgraceful compromises... He just kept flapping his delicate technicolor wings, moving purposefully towards a better place.
The butterfly doesn't abandon its gentle nature amid the violence and indifference of a big city, so why do we? Are people inherently confrontational, combative and intolerant? If so, I'll be happy to leave the roar of the city behind while I find my way back to the redwoods...
Sometimes a monarch wanders from the forest, but he who knows himself is never far from home.