CONVERSATION WITH…A Claustrophobic Caterpillar…Trying To Cope With Inevitable Changes

As I climbed Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, suddenly I heard a small voice screaming from below! I looked down and realized I’d almost stepped on a panic stricken caterpillar.  I had to apologize!


Caterpillar!  I’m so sorry!

CATERPILLAR: You almost gave me a heart attack!

I didn’t see you there!

CATERPILLAR: That’s what they all say.

Seriously!  Are you okay?

CATERPILLAR: As okay as I’m gonna get right now.  I’ve got bigger problems.

Like what?

CATERPILLAR: Like, I’ve been putting off going in a cocoon until the last possible minute. I’m claustrophobic.  But now the time has come.

I feel your pain. I’m claustrophobic, too.


Yeah. I don’t do elevators, tunnels, airplanes, MRIs…whenever I can avoid them.

CATERPILLAR: Well I can’t avoid going in my cocoon anymore.  I’m exhausted all the time.  I’m always starving and stuffing my face with leaves.  I’m not the caterpillar I used to be. Every part of my body is telling me this part of my life is over.

 So, before you go in your cocoon, why don’t you take a Xanax?  Or have a glass of wine?  I have a glass when I take short plane flights. It takes the edge off for a few hours. 

CATERPILLAR: We’re not talking hours here, we’re talking weeks.

Well, at least you only have to go in your cocoon one time.  Then it’s over! And you’ll be able to fly!  Don’t you want to fly?

CATERPILLAR: No.  I love crawling.  I don’t want to give up my feet.

I hear ya. 

CATERIPLLAR: And I don’t want this part of my life to be over.

I know!!!!  I have two kids and I loved bringing them up.  But they’ve grown up and just left home.  I don’t want this part of my life to be over either.

CATERPILLAR: We’re soulmates.

Yes. But it seems the universe is pushing us to move on. We have no choice.

CATERPILLAR: Yup. I have to fly.

I have to fly, too.   I mean, my daughter lives far away now. If I’m able to get myself to sit in a plane for five hours, I can visit her a lot.  And if I’m able to fly even longer, I can see so many parts of the world. I’d like that.

CATERPILLAR: Maybe flying will open new doors for me too. Maybe I’m part of something bigger that I can’t see. So, I guess I’ll take you up on that bottle of wine.

I said a GLASS…



Weeks later, the caterpillar came out of her cocoon! Though she had a major hangover…


…after a few hours she was able to fly in a straight line.  And me?  Well, since I’m still Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, when I click my heels together I can visit my daughter in a flash. It works for now.  But…if you’re a bad flyer too, I’d love to hear from you.  What do you do on a plane to avoid jumping out of your skin?


































Walking Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I plopped down in a peaceful meadow and had a conversation with…the quiet.


Quiet? I can’t see you, but I can feel you.  Are you there?


Oh!  I’m sooo glad!  Because I need to be here with you, alone with my thoughts. I just need to be in timeless, empty space to think and feel out where I belong in the world.  Are you okay having me here?  


You don’t say very much, do you?


Anyway…here’s the thing. I’m in between worlds. I mean, I used to think quiet was a bad thing.  I thought “quiet” was something to avoid.  It wasn’t enough to be alone with quietness.  It was depressing and empty.

THE QUIET:  Uh huh.

But now I love the quiet. When I’m with you, my thoughts roam free. Maybe they’ll find a place to land. I notice things around me. My feelings intensify. 

THE QUIET:  Uh huh.

I need to sort things out. To look back at where I’ve been and where I’m going…inside my older body. What kinds of adjustments can I make so I won’t be anxious or depressed as I unveil new, passionate feelings?  I don’t know.  I need to be in the quiet. For days or weeks or months…

THE QUIET:  Uh huh.

Do you mind that I’m rambling?


Oh good! Because I need to be here with you, alone with my thoughts. I just need to be in timeless, empty space to think and feel out where I belong in the world.  Are you okay having me here?


You don’t say very much, do you?


Anyway…here’s the thing..






























































CONVERSATION WITH…An Autumn Leaf…Trying to Understand Why It Has To Go

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road this morning, I was hiking through the woods when I heard an orange leaf cry, “I won’t do it!  I won’t do it!”  It sounded like leaf abuse so I checked it out.


Leaf?  Should I call 911? What’s going on?

ORANGE LEAF: I won’t let go of this tree!  I love it here!  Everything I know is here!

So what’s the problem?  Hang onto your branch.

ORANGE LEAF: I can’t!  My stem is weak. I can’t hold on anymore.  Why is this happening to me?!

I wish I could tell you!  It seems to be the way of things. For all of us.

ORANGE LEAF: But it’s crazy! I mean, I don’t know how I got here in the first place. And now I don’t understand why I have to leave.

I know the feeling.  Everyone does.

ORANGE LEAF: I’m not ready to go. I love life. I had a great budhood.  I had the best greenage years.  I love making shade. I love dancing when there’s a breeze.  And there are so many memories here!  The day the kite got stuck.  The bird that built her nest here. The day her eggs hatched. Watching her babies learning to fly.  And while it was all happening, somehow I turned orange. I was so busy I didn’t notice.

It happens fast.  For everyone.

ORANGE LEAF: But I don’t want to go!  I don’t want my life to end!

It isn’t going to. You’re just moving on to a different phase.

ORANGE LEAF: How do you know?

Because I can see there’s a lot beyond you that you haven’t experienced and don’t understand.

ORANGE LEAF: Like what?

Well, you’ve never seen the ocean.

ORANGE LEAF: The what?

And you’ve never seen a mountain range, a canyon, a desert, a volcano —

ORANGE LEAF: What are you talking about??  Why is it that YOU’RE able to see all these things?

Because I have a car.


It’s not important. I’m just saying, when you let go, you’ll be ending one phase but starting another.  You’re part of something bigger even though you can’t see it right now.

ORANGE LEAF: Well, how am I gonna get where I’m going? So I can see all these things?

The wind will carry you.  Have faith.

ORANGE: Ugh. There’s so much I don’t understand.

Me too…







CONVERSATION WITH…A Floor…Having Panic Attacks About Aging

While strolling Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, trying to figure out where I belong in the world as I grow older… it suddenly started pouring! Out of nowhere!  I ran for cover!  Fortunately, an old, rickety house was nearby. I dashed onto the front porch!  To calm myself down, I started a conversation with the floor…


Floor! I’m so sorry I’m stomping all over you and getting you wet–

FLOOR: It’s not an issue.

Right.  You’re a floor.  Don’t mind me.  I panic when I’m stuck in rainstorms, especially because I’m older.  I worry I could slip in a puddle and twist my ankle, break my hip, pull out my back–

FLOOR: Say no more. I’m older, too.  Even when it’s not raining, sometimes I get weird symptoms out of nowhere and go crazy.

Same here!

FLOOR: Sometimes, out of nowhere, my floor nails stick up.  Maybe I’m sagging because I’m older. But when it happens, I think I’m dying.

Makes sense to me.

FLOOR: But then, someone comes along and hammers my nails back in and I’m fine. And I’m embarrassed I made such a ruckus.

I do the same thing. If my back starts to hurt for no reason, I panic and make all kinds of doctors’ appointments and get every pain medication available in the United States. But then…when I rest and have patience and listen to my body…in time my back gets better and I feel like an idiot for driving everyone around me nuts.

FLOOR: Sometimes when it’s humid outside, I warp for no reason.  I think I’m doomed and I’ll stay that way forever.  But then, dry air passes through and I straighten out.

Sometimes, if I suddenly feel light headed, I think I’m having a heart attack or a stroke.  It takes me a while to calm myself down and remember I could be slightly dehydrated or maybe there’s poor air circulation in the room I’m sitting in.

FLOOR: Sometimes when people step on me in a certain way, I creak, out of nowhere. Then other times, I don’t creak.  I get scared. I don’t know what the random creaking’s about.  I assume it’s the beginning of the end.

Sometimes my knees hurt when I walk downstairs. Other times, they’re fine.

FLOOR: It’s so hard being on this side of life. I mean, anything can be wrong, but I always assume the worst.

Me too. The “out of nowhere” symptoms are scary.  It’s hard to be rational.

FLOOR: Right.  Once in a while,  I feel like covering myself with an area rug to reduce my chances of having random symptoms.

Sometimes the thought of staying in my house all day, every day, feels comforting.

FLOOR: But then our worlds will grow smaller and smaller.  If we cover ourselves up, we’ll also be shutting ourselves out.

I know.  Anyway…I’m glad we’re going through this together.  It makes me believe somehow we’re all part of something bigger.

FLOOR: I agree. Maybe in my next life I’ll come back as a ceiling.  Seeing the world from a different angle would be cool.


At that moment, out of nowhere, the rain stopped. The clouds parted,  the sun started to dry us off, and the floor and I celebrated making it through yet another crisis.  We exchanged warm good-byes, and I walked down the front steps slowly so I wouldn’t smash my head.