Matadalon sat on a branch, The branch was the mottled gray and tan of the sycamore and he was having trouble deciding what he was going to be because Matadalon was a chameleon and chameleons are supposed to reflect what they are sitting on.
Gray or tan or maybe silver? Or maybe the green of the leaves? Or maybe he should just move over to that oak over there or over to that nice hibiscus… He was paralyzed with indecision. This is not a good thing for a chameleon. If he didn’t change soon he might get eaten and he had seen a hawk pass overhead awhile ago.
Matadalon crouched down and tried to think but the more he thought about it the more he was scared and frightened and couldn’t decide. Matadalon felt silly too. The other chameleons didn’t think about how to change. They just did it. They made fun of him or offered bits of useless advice that didn’t help when he started to follow it. And so he sat immovable on this branch.
He finally decided a light gray might do and he started to change to a silvery gray and stopped… What if it was better to be tan? Maybe a mix of the two colours? He was stopped halfway between the green he had been and the silvery gray. Now what?
Maty’s mother had been watching this from farther up the tree and was properly hidden in a mix of tan, silver and green. Maty’s mother shook her head and twirled her eyes. She had many children and none of them ever had a problem changing but Matadalon. Matadalon had to think and study everything before he could make a choice. This was not necessarily a bad thing and in fact, she wished some of her other children would think a bit more before they acted but she loved Matadalon, her thinking child and was proud of him. She needed to find a way to help him. What could she do?
Matadalon was crouched down and thinking when he felt a soft finger stroke his back and he felt himself change. He looked down at his legs and saw that they were a perfect match for the branch he was lying on. He looked up and saw a woman whose skin was a pattern of greens and blues and browns and tans all over her body. She had stars in her hair and really calm blue eyes like the waters of the sea that weren’t far away. She looked kind as he felt her finger down his back.
“Who are you? And how did you know I needed help” Matadalon asked.
“My name is Gaia and any chameleon that takes that long to change probably needs a little help.” She smiled down at him. “What made you take so long?”
Matadalon looked around to make sure none of his siblings were around. “I’m scared to change. What if I do it wrong?” Maty whispered. “None of my brothers and sisters have this problem, just me.” Maty said softly and sadly.
Gaia looked at him kindly. “Matadalon, if you don’t learn to change you could get hurt. See that big hawk up there?” Gaia pointed to the frustrated bird who had lost his prey. “You were almost someone’s lunch. Sometimes it’s good to think things through and sometimes you just have to trust you will change the right way and do it.”
“Really?” Maty said, he wasn’t quite sure he believed it. How could that be true? To change without thinking? Was it really that simple?”
“Yes, it’s really that simple. Change is part of life. We make changes every second we are alive. And the big changes can scare us terribly but you have to change because everyone else is changing too. This tree is changing every minute it is alive and so are you.”
“Oh,” said Maty. “How do I know if I need to think about it or just do it?”
“Sometimes you can’t know and sometimes you can?” said Gaia.
“That’s not very helpful.” muttered Maty.
“I know.” laughed the Goddess. “But that’s a part of life and growing too but I’ll give you a hint. If it means you don’t get eaten or hurt, it’s probably a good change.”
“But I can think about it sometimes? Matadalon looked up at Gaia.
“For the big things, like moving a nest but not for little things like matching a branch. Can you do that, Matadalon? Gaia looked at Matadalon kindly but firmly.
Maty looked thoughtful for a moment and decided he could do that. “Yes,” he said and looked the Goddess straight in the eye for the first time. “I can do that.”
“Good, be brave, Maty. I know you can do it.” Gaia leaned down and gave him a kiss which made all his colours change to her colours and back. Gaia laughed and was gone.
Matadalon’s mother sighed a sigh of relief. Matadalon was going to be alright.
Maty lay on his branch, he could do this, he could really do this.
She changes everything she touches
And everything she touches changes…
Change is, touch is, touch is, change is
Change us! Touch us! Touch us! Change us!
Everything lost is found again
In a new form, in a new way.
Everything hurt is healed again
In a new life, in a new day.
From the Kore Chant in the Spiral Dance by Starhawk