Inspiration from the Oyster and the Caterpillar

Winter Solstice Reflections

I have been thinking of the oyster lately.

How she spends her life alone, down in the deep dark of the sea; how the craggy peaks on her roughened shell express her toughness and resilience; how inside that calcified fortress she is tender, soft, vulnerable and sweet. 

I have been thinking about how it’s the irritation of a bit of sand inside her shell that gets the oyster creating. 

No sand, no pearl. 

She takes a sharp-edged bit of silica and works on it patiently, secreting the layers of creative juices that transform ordinary sand into lustrous pearl. 

Alone in the dark, the roaring of the great sea around her, she is like the caterpillar in her cocoon, working her magic with methodical, rhythmic attention. 

I have never seen an oyster creating a pearl, but I have had the great joy of watching a caterpillar transform into a cocoon.

First she fixes herself head down on a sturdy stalk, curling her body up into a J. Her soft body jerks and vibrates, magically changing into a hard shell. Once the shell is complete, the vibrations stop and the deep transformation begins. You know she is almost finished with her work when the walls of the cocoon become translucent, and you can start to see the veins of the butterfly wings outlined inside. 

Moving into the ultimate darkness of Year 2020, this Solstice weekend, I am embracing the inspiration of these two exemplary creators: the oyster and the caterpillar. 

One takes the irritants that beset her and transforms them into beauty. 

The other unhesitatingly embarks on total transformation, trusting the inner guidance that assures her that even in the face of complete dissolution, all will be well. 

I know that as a human, I am sand in the tender flesh of the oyster of the world. 

As a human, I am an earthbound crawling caterpillar, focused on munching, unaware of the great cosmic and Gaian rhythms that so generously provide my sustenance. 

On this Winter Solstice, I offer myself up for transformation. 

May the rough being that I am, slouching through these times of crisis and sorrow, be taken up by the world and made beautiful. 

May I emerge from these lonely struggles with new energy, insight and sense of purpose, ready to fly into a world so in need of loving attention.


Join me Sunday 12/20 for a free online writing workshop exploring the transformative potential of the Winter Solstice. More info here: https://www.jenniferbrowdy.com/event/winter-solstice-2020/

Be the Light…Photo by J. Browdy
Leave a comment

3 Comments

  1. Penny Gill

     /  December 18, 2020

    lovely and rich, dear Jennifer….and so intriguing, that you moved it to you being the sand in the oyster of the world! I take these powerful images, as you know, and dive deep within…as guidance for interior transformation. You so beautifully keep your eye on the planet….

    A hard week here, with not a minute for my writing, or even for a stretch or a little walk. Many needs in the community, which had to be tended. Re-grounding now, re-homing, perhaps…and then, taking a deep breath and hopefully starting up again, at least in a tiny way, this afternoon. Such challenging days. So, how are you doing? I’ll be joining you on Sunday..need a little time in your energy, and I thought that would be perfect…Penny

    On Fri, Dec 18, 2020 at 6:06 AM Transition Times wrote:

    > Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D. posted: ” Winter Solstice Reflections I have been > thinking of the oyster lately. How she spends her life alone, down in the > deep dark of the sea; how the craggy peaks on her roughened shell express > her toughness and resilience; how inside that calcified for” >

    Reply
  2. anni crofut

     /  December 18, 2020

    I love this piece, Jenny. So poignant, these analogies to our fellow creatures, in this time where they are our greatest teachers. Have you seen My Octopus Teacher? If not, you MUST!

    I loved this: I know that as a human, I am sand in the tender flesh of the oyster of the world.

    xo Anni

    Reply
    • Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

       /  December 18, 2020

      Thanks Anni! I love that line too, it definitely came through me, and I wrote it and then gazed at it with wonder & delight! Let’s talk about MY OCTOPUS TEACHER at some point! xo

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: