Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers


Becoming a Butterfly

My husband and I just returned from a month in Italy. It felt as though not only were we transported to another continent, but we also lived in a cocoon for that period of time. We ignored the news. We focused mainly on our new environment, immersed in the cultural differences, trying to become Italian for a short while at least.2015-06-11 17.53.58

When I think of cocoons, of course, I think of butterflies and the phases they go through in their evolution. The cocoon or chrysalis stage prepares them for the fourth and last stage.

Okay, I’m not going to imply that we returned from our vacation as butterflies, but I do think these trips offer us a chance to revise ourselves and bring back something of the culture(s) we visited, depositing whatever we’ve learned or discovered in our home environment.

The loveliest thing about being in transit was letting go of our usual routines and schedules. I didn’t go to the gym or work out regularly (except for climbing the endless number of stairs wherever we went). I didn’t meditate. I didn’t prepare meals except occasionally. 1980-01-01 00.00.14-1I let go of my daily practices, and that allowed another mentality to take root.

Will I be able to sustain this alternative way of being? Only time will tell. At the moment, I can’t stand to turn on CNN or any other 24/7 news channel. I long for a ride on a vaporetta. I even miss climbing so many stairs. Naturally there’s much more that I had to leave behind: the wonderful restaurant we found in Venice with the frenetic owner who also was the waiter. He did a dance for hours as he flitted between tables and kitchen, all contained in the same room (CoVino). The ancient sites with their echoes of former centuries (Pompeii was particularly disturbing and moving: to think that in an instant a culture was decimated) . The stunning Tuscan landscape that not even our Northern California hills can match.

Clearly, these memories will be working on me for a long time, and while I might not become a butterfly, I at least know what I’m missing.

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