Fragile strength

butterfly 41

Unfettered beauty

Riding the storms of Chaos

Fragile as a heart

There are few things as strong…or as fragile…as a butterfly. Their delicate wings can withstand both wind and rain, yet the touch of a finger can damage them beyond repair. Their physical strength starts early when, as caterpillars, they munch their way through leaves ten times their size before moving on to the next, decimating the plants upon which their parent laid their eggs.

They have another strength though, not visible to the irate gardener or passionate lepidopterist… they have the strength to yield to the inevitability of their own dissolution. Retiring to their homespun cocoon, metamorphosis occurs; they are dissolved into the component parts of their own being before their final emergence as beauty incarnate.


It makes you wonder about the strength of the impulsion of Nature…and whether the caterpillar is aware of its future. How much awareness does a caterpillar have? Enough to fear its transformation… or just a blind obedience to the urgency of instinct? Either way, the process is inescapable. They cannot hold on to their juvenile form… only let go and allow Nature to do her work and the inevitable transformation to occur.

We face the same fate as we live and grow… that too is an inescapable process. We can cling on to youth or to the past, to our illusions or to people, desperately trying to maintain the life and comfort-zone with which we are familiar and that conforms to our image of self… or we can let them go. Not everything that we release will fly away; sometimes they remain and in that there is great beauty, for what we then have we do not need to hold, for it is a gift freely given, not the product of restraint and a grasping hand.


The saddest thing of all must be the butterfly collector. His strength, he imagines, lies in his knowledge and expertise… and in the completeness of his collection. In truth, he is more fragile than the flying petals he seeks to acquire; he imagines himself master, yet can only appreciate what he has squeezed the life from before skewering it with a pin, preserving its perfection by robbing it of life.

Continue reading at The Silent Eye

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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21 Responses to Fragile strength

  1. Pingback: Fragile Strength – The Militant Negro™

  2. Erik says:

    Musings about butterflies and their transformation are not new. You know this, of course, since even your own post here opens with a meme and quote on the topic. And yet I always find, as here, that when you explore a topic, it feels new. And that is simply the mark of a skilled writer—as well as a true observer and participant of life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    We can learn a great deal from the butterfly. You write that well. Lovely post, Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Butterflies are most beautiful – like your writing! ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Widdershins says:

    When I was a child I would always feel physically ill whenever I saw ‘stuffed’ animals (the taxidermied kind) and butterflies in particular. It made sense when I understood they were once living entities.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rijanjks says:

    Beautiful thoughts. I love the words, Fragile Strength. I feel that we too, in our own way possess that. Lovely, Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely, Sue. You’ve completely covered the root of the subject. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

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