Monday, September 29, 2008

Where the Grass is Greener

It’s a sunny afternoon in early Fall – with just the right touch of crispness in the air. As I cycle along the river, I skirt around a furry caterpillar making its way to the grass on the other side of the path. A couple of feet later, I come across another rust-coloured caterpillar humping along in the same direction as the first one. The next caterpillar I see isn’t so lucky. It was fatally clipped by a skater or cyclist, halfway to its destination.

Why this obsession about getting to the other side?? The area they are leaving behind has the same green grass and even more trees than the place they are struggling to reach.

Human beings are not so different. When I was unhappily married, many times I longed to be single. Eventually I made the switch – only to realize there are challenges in every lifestyle. Perfection does not exist because there is always something to experience and to learn.

The way to be happy, I have since discovered, is “to want what you have” rather than “have what you want.” This does not mean staying in a bad relationship. Rather it has to do with appreciating the good things in your life. I have my health and mobility, time and freedom to write (my greatest passion) or to travel. I also have meaningful interactions with a number of people. I feel useful and engaged. There is a lot to be thankful for.

As I head home on my bike, I come across another caterpillar – this one going BACK to the river. It’s tasted the grass on the other side and realizes it was better off where it started from. I gently nudge the furry creature off the path and out of danger.

Soon it will nest in a silky cocoon, safe from winter’s chill. In the end the place it chooses for this cocoon does not matter as much as the act of weaving it.