We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
I spent a moody afternoon chasing butterflies on Wards Island. The park works magic on me. Manhattan a perfect picture across the river, and car engines barely audible in the distance, my anxiety melts away.
The island has a particularly colorful history. It has hosted a British Revolutionary War post, a cotton mill, and an immigration station predating Ellis Island. The island is the transplanted home of hundreds of thousands of bodies dug up from the graveyards in Madison Square and Bryant Park. It boasted the biggest hospital in the world (1850), later the largest psychiatric hospital in the world (1892, with 4,400 beds!), and now houses New York’s criminally insane.
The wild past, these incriminating facts, increase my enchantment with the place. In contrast, how quick and harsh I judge myself and others on the equivalent. Here’s to appreciating whatever you consider the grimy, grubby bit of yourself, past or present!