It is a dull, drizzly grey day.
A slug sits slothfully on the stony path. Slowly it slithers in its slime across dirt and rocks to the green grass. When it gets there it sits, stays still and eats slowly and cautiously of the juicy rich grass, then moves slowly, ever so slowly and clumsily, as though every move is tortuous and agonising in its execution.
As it slithers slowly past a puddle it pauses and ponders, looking at its reflection in the murky water.
It seems to stay transfixed to that spot, until sunlight slips through a crack in the clouds and refracts off the puddle, splitting the light into a rainbow of glorious hues as it passes through the fine soft sprinkling rain that is floating and drifting like snow to the ground.
The slug almost seems transformed by the rainbow of lights and the dew-like rain. It sighs and slowly turns towards the shaft of sunlight.
Slowly at first, then just a little faster, it slithers and squirms its way towards taller, richer patches of grass and juicy clover, which it begins to devour hungrily.
The grey clouds slowly drift apart and sun shines down ever stronger and brighter, lighting and warming the cold grey world.
By the time the afternoon has come and the sky is bathed in blue, what was once a slimy grey slug has reached a lush garden and is busily munching on the choice green leaves of a rhododendron bush; and the slug has become light green in colour with long spiky hairs protruding from the crevices between the bumps; the type of caterpillar birds avoid for fear of being poisoned.
All the long warm sunny afternoon the caterpillar munches busily, moving from plant to plant, but only ever eating the various varieties of rhododendron leaves,
Just as the sun is slowly beginning to sink behind the distant grey-blue hills, it reaches the biggest rhododendron in the garden. As it clambers nimbly onto a leaf it pauses to look at the beautiful, lush crimson blooms that glisten with the raindrops the petals captured earlier in the day.
Then, very slowly and cautiously the caterpillar leaves the leaf and slides down one of the petals into the very centre of the flower and begins drinking the crystal clear water held there as if in a cup.
Suddenly the water glistens as the setting sun captures it for a second.
Then, as darkness begins to fall and clothe the garden, the caterpillar finds a strong branch. And so it begins to spin a myriad of silken white threads around itself and onto the branch.
A short while later, as the moon rises reflecting the sun’s light on the garden in a gentle soft blue-white glow, a shiny white chrysalis hangs in the still night air, suspended from a strong branch in the middle of that beautiful garden.
All night long the ball of shiny threads hang there patiently, quietly, unmoving.
As the first rays of dawn pierce the inky darkness, there is a movement as the chrysalis begins to swing and shake.
Weak buttercup-yellow rays of sun sweep the garden and the whole land as the day dawns.
The new day is here.
And in the fragile still air, a brilliant flash of colour flutters into the Light.
© Jan Stead JEMproductions, 1977
This piece came to me while I was in the shower, of all places. As soon as I finished, I immediately grabbed a pen, plonked myself down, and crouched low over some paper frantically writing while the inspiration was there, before I forgot.
You will noticed this was written some 13 years ago; until today it has not see light or been read by anyone other than me.