Butterflies are fluttering into the blue summer sky on my utility box mural in Redwood City. At first sight, it seems ironic that this mural is located next to the Maguire Correctional Facility. Butterflies symbolize freedom as the butterfly with its wings fully spread can go anywhere. They cannot be hold by jail grids or walls - tiny fragile creatures that even cross borders.
Monarch Butterflies travel up to three thousand miles from Canada to Mexico every year. They are the only butterfly species to make such a long, two-way migration. They only make the journey once. The Monarchs who go south reproduce and die on the way. They do not return to where they were born. Their children or grandchildren come back without any elders to show them the way. It is their children's grandchildren that return south the following fall.
These migration facts are amazing, but not everything meets the eye. This journey must be placed in the context of the butterfly life cycle. Before a butterfly is taking flight across seas and continents, it has gone from a caterpillar to a butterfly. The caterpillar is only capable of crawling slowly. It spins itself a cocoon where the transformation can take place. This metamorphosis is a message of what is possible in our own lives. If we are going beyond what we believe, it is possible to making the impossible a reality.
This metamorphosis also mirrors the process of change that can happen inside prison walls. When the caterpillar enters the cocoon he has let everything he has ever known be left behind and embraces his new life. I hope that the prisoners can free themselves from the past and go through important changes. Sometimes you have to let go of something or someone that has been holding you back. Then new possibilities will open up. Life is continuous unfolding. You can shape the future for the coming generations. It is our power to make a choice - to create our way of being. But you have to release your fears so you can take the journey.