The Snake and the Caterpillar

There was once a great snake that forever crossed the endless seas. On her back rode her one young progeny. As great as was the mother, her young was small and tender, curled clinging to her dark back. One day she heard a sirens call. Off in the distance, quietly at first, but then slowly becoming louder. It swayed the young snake with its plethora of voices, all seeming to call to it.
Distracted, it no longer held tight to its mother’s back where it clung.

Suddenly the young snake realized it was on her back no more. Lost among the calm seas, it floated alone.

Until one day, it found itself on the land. A land it had not known existed. A land of heat and jungle. A land of deep crevasses, mountainous heights, and snow. There it found itself changing, becoming something it wasn’t before. Legs grew along its long body as it grew in size, similar to the creature that lived around it. Sixteen legs grew along its belly, allowing it to walk and climb. As large as a man, he chose to converse with them. Seeking solace where none had been found since losing his grip on his mother’s back.

He traveled and met many people. People of all shapes and sizes. Men and women, large and short, thin and fat, intelligent and not so much. With each, he would offer foods, conversation, and acceptance. Many thought of him as a friend. But some looked at him and cried out of monstrous things. Some rallied to the crier’s side, gathering more around them, casting aspersion where there were once none.

So he traveled to the land of cold and snow. His many feet carried him far. Deep crevasses covered and hid in mountainous regions, but here he felt safe, allowing himself to grow a hugely monstrous size. For if they were to call him so, why should he not be?
But still, some intrepid wanders came. Not for him, but for the solitude of the high mountains, the clear deep rivers, and crystal pure air.
When they happened upon, they were at first frightened, but that was soon forgotten as they were offered foods and conversation as pure as the air.

As these wanders reluctantly left, they carried him in their thoughts and minds. Sharing some of the things they learned with others. Soon they were more. These were not wanders in body, but in troubles, and of the mind and soul. Seeking all they could not find within themselves. Offered foods and conversation, the caterpillar, soon thought of finding a mate. So many came to see him but never really did. They saw what they chose to see rather than what or who he was.

Tempted by some, the foods and wrappers lie discarded across the snow—wind pushing the flotsam and jetsam into the deep crevasse nearby. Years passed as fewer people came and more forgot. The litter became buried deep in the endless snow. One day, I, too, traveled there. My thoughts drove me with no care from whence I came. Along the edges of a great crevasse, the trees and land covered in snow, I saw the offerings of food strewn along the way. Capturing my eyes as it did, I felt the pull of worry. Perhaps I, too, much like the flotsam and jetsam the wind carried along, would be pulled into the crevasse. But soon, I heard the purr of a friendly voice welcoming me. Moving towards it, my worries gone, I saw him. Blue or green, it was hard to interpret the colors in my mind, so I did not try. He spoke to me of things I could not and perhaps should not know from a snake that rode on its mother’s back across the endless seas.

As he was drawing to a close, I realized he had indeed found a mate. Someone to listen to him, hold in his sixteen arms, and feel warmth on cold, dark nights of the soul. Seeing his smiling face, I realized he, too, was changing again, just as all caterpillars must, no matter the size. Once neither male nor female, then male as a caterpillar, he would enter a chrysalis, changing once more—this time emerging as a female. For age, size, sex, mattered not.

Only what was in the heart of the snake that rode its mother’s back across the endless seas.

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