Becoming

Monarch caterpillar on his hatch day! One-eighth of an inch long.

Monarch caterpillar on his hatch day! One-eighth of an inch long.

Did you miss me? I didn’t intend to be away from the blog for this long, but my big move to Ohio has been all-consuming for the past couple of months. I’m happy to say that I am settled in my new home now–more or less–and have already finished the first two weeks at my new job.

Although my house is all unpacked and functional, my brain hasn’t quite made the transition. I’m still struggling to adjust to my new environment. I had been referring to this move as a sort of homecoming, a return to the state where I grew up and lived most of my adult life before moving to Michigan 15 years ago. But my childhood “home” part of Ohio was in the southeastern part of the state, in the Appalachian foothills. My adult life was spent in Columbus. And the area of Michigan I lived in was highly-populated and also very hilly. Now I live in northwestern Ohio, smack dab in the middle of farm country, and I have to say that it is sort of freaking me out.

Monarch caterpillar - also in my kitchen

Same Monarch caterpillar getting bigger

I’m surprised at how much I feel almost like I’ve moved to another country, or at least thousands of miles away. I’m a “big city” person. But now I live in a small town surrounded by fields of corn and soybeans and lots (I mean lots) of freight train activity. It might sound silly to someone who has lived in this environment their whole life, but for me it’s so strange to hear train whistles in the middle of the night, and to have to stop for trains on a regular basis as I drive to work. For the first few days I thought it was sort of cool. But the novelty of it wore off fast on the first night I was kept awake by train whistles every thirty minutes. (One night I was up at 3 am using Google to read about why trains are allowed to blow those *#^! horns so much while people are sleeping.) But I’ve adapted to the trains now and only occasionally get woken up by them.

But aside from the trains, it’s hard not to dwell on what I’m missing, those conveniences of city life like choice in restaurants and shopping. I’m starting to accept that I’ll have to drive 45 minutes to Sandusky or Toledo for my favorite stores. Locally I have no choice other than WalMart. I’ll get used to it but this is a major adjustment for me. Maybe it sounds like whining but I don’t care. I’ve done more than my share of major life adjustments in the past year and it’s all been emotionally exhausting — my painful divorce, leaving my beautiful home on 2 acres of woods, losing both of my cats, and my kayak, not to mention leaving all of my Michigan friends and my favorite parks. And I’m not done yet. Now I’m going back to work after 15 years out of the work force. It makes me tired just thinking about all I’ve been through lately.

I don’t think anything other than my amazing new job could have convinced me to make yet another major transition at this point in my life. There’s so much that is “foreign” to me here, from the vast flatness of the land to the rural lifestyle. Almost daily I find myself having a moment where I feel a little bit panicked about whether I’ll be happy here. I just have to have confidence that those feelings will go away as I start finding my way around better and integrating into the community, but it’s very disconcerting at this point.

Fear and anxiety many times indicates that we are moving in a positive direction, out of the safe confines of our comfort zone, and in the direction of our true purpose.  ~Charles Glassman

I should mention that the pictures in this post are from my new adventure of raising Monarch butterflies in my home. (See, it’s not all doom and gloom, LOL.) I’ve learned a lot about the life cycle of these fascinating insects. I’ve learned to identify the various types of milkweed they need to survive. I’ve planted milkweed in my yard. I’ve watched them go from tiny little egg to tiny little caterpillar, to slightly bigger caterpillar, to big fat caterpillar, and then to chrysalis. I have an aquarium on my kitchen table that is home to two chrysalises and one tiny caterpillar right now. Later this week I expect that both of the Monarchs will emerge from their beautiful green pods and spread their fresh and untested wings for the first time.

Monarch chrysalis day 2

Monarch butterfly in its chrysalis — in my kitchen

I’ll take each one outside and release it into the sky. These butterflies, who were eggs just a couple weeks ago, will fly to Mexico for the winter. Nobody gives them a user manual or a map, they just have to figure it all out on their own. I wonder what it’s like to be a caterpillar, crawling around eating milkweed leaves one day, and then to wake up a few weeks later with wings. Can you imagine how cool that must be?

In a way, I can see my own journey as a metamorphosis too. The nine months I spent in my transitional apartment were my caterpillar stage, where I was focused on “feeding,” taking care of myself so I would have the strength for what was to come. My big move for this job has been the chrysalis stage, where major changes are taking place inside, hidden from view by anyone else but intensely felt by me.

What’s to come is the most exciting and amazing part of all, where the beautiful butterfly emerges with the courage and strength to go to unfamiliar places. That part is supposed to be the reward for all the hard work and sacrifice of the other stages. I can’t wait for that part! Stay tuned….

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Happiness and Gratitude, Insects and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Becoming

  1. Pingback: There She Goes Again… | Nature Is My Therapy

  2. Pingback: Witness to First Flight | Nature Is My Therapy

  3. Kim I made the change and it takes awhile to adjust but you won’t be sorry. I love these photos and can’t wait to see your babies hatch. What an amazing experience. My daughter had a butterfly sit on her hand just after it hatched, it sat there and dried its wings, so beautiful, i will never forget that moment.

  4. kristieinbc says:

    It’s nice to see you back at your blog, Kim! The transition from urban to rural lifestyle is a huge one. Give yourself time. I suspect it will grow on you. But then I might be a bit prejudice given I grew up on a farm.

    • Thanks for still checking in despite my long absence, Kristie! I popped over to your blog too and discovered that I’ve missed SO much…I’m going to catch up soon, I promise. 🙂

  5. Littlesundog says:

    Hello Kim! It is great to get an update from you! Just like the monarchs, you are emerging… taking that journey on instinct and flying free. It is a time of getting settled, and becoming familiar. It will be interesting to see how your life evolves over the next months! I’m proud of you, daring girl! 🙂

  6. That’s a great quote. The next time I have anxiety I’ll see if it applies. 🙂
    I hope your new surroundings suit you before long.

  7. Sharee says:

    Boy did this hit home for me. I am from a small town in NW Ohio Defiance. I moved to Michigan for 5 years and am now living in AZ. Everything you wrote ,I felt to my very soul. The last 3 sentences lifted my spirit. We are where we are suppose to be. I wish you much happiness on your new journey. You are going to be not only fine but great. I so enjoy your blog, I too am a HSP and I need trees to breath.

  8. Gail Berner says:

    Good to hear from you. Monarchs are so cool. I’ve yet to find the caterpillar or chrysalis. I look forward to see how you metamorphose into your new life.

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