The time has come; this sensation of opening, becoming, and changing accompanied by inner restlessness. It’s as though the cocoon is cracking and the time-hardened shell, created by the accretions of time, duty, loyalties, and responsibility are giving way. Unseen, unknown, the new breaks forth with little more than hints and nods.
With each crack in the shell, there is both a twinge of fear, (what am I becoming) and a current of excitement (what is the nature of these new changes). It is to move from an old familiar space, grown restrictive and disinteresting, to follow after the beckoning of a palpable presence of wonder.
Not to start over…but to move to something even better, more in line with whom I am and have become over time. Not some discovery, but a deep realization that what I need to become is within my grasp.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. describes it beautifully in the poem The Chambered Nautilus:
This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main,—
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.
Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,—
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!
Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.
Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!