“The Hungry Caterpillar” is a lovely kid’s book about a caterpillar’s transformation into a butterfly. The story is full of hope as the caterpillar, fueled by food and genetic predetermination, morphs into a beautiful flying creature. I’d like to write a book, based on the opposite premise, in which a “The Lyme-Stricken butterfly” chooses to return to her cocoon. She shuts out stimuli that might exacerbate her pain. She retires her wings, her flight and her freedom in order to cope. She closes herself off for months in hopes that a sense of vitality will one day come rushing through her body once again.
Deep in her cocoon she waits. Every now and then, when enough light shines through, she looks at the parti-colored markings on her wings. She remembers the many people that admired her vibrancy and is saddened that she is now wasting away. She struggles with her regression, knowing how much time she spent in the cocoon to become a free-flying creature.
She asks, Why me? The answer echoes in her head: Why not? She is no different than the butterflies that are eaten by frogs. She is one of many creatures destined to suffer. Why should her life be any different than theirs? She convinces herself to accept her present reality for the time being, to save her wings the disappointment of failing to lift her off the ground. What she doesn’t know, however, is that hidden in the darkness of her cocoon the potential for a different kind of transformation awaits.