A Solstice Story

A Solstice Story – June 21st, 2004

[Excerpt of an e-mail exchange between my wife and I a few months back]

Hi love –

I’m glad we both got through last night – sounds like we had a lot of stuff
going on under the surface as well as above it. It was interesting this
morning, to know that I was happy in general, and blessed, and that we
handled it amazingly, and that I wasn’t so much dreading going to work as I
was simply open to what it had to offer. I wanted to find a way to get out
of the little negative pocket I was in. Funny how life finds a way.

The mood at work is fine, a little frenetic regarding the catalog and how to
operate in Vilmarie’s absence, but it’s nothing that I can’t handle. They
called for the 11 o’clock break and I rushed outside to take the opportunity
to enjoy the beautiful day. I strapped on my dulcimer, tuned up, looked at
the beautiful sky and tried to lose myself in the wonder of nature.

As I
started to sing “World Of My Own”, I noticed movement on the green grass
about ten or fifteen feet from where I stood. It appeared to be a piece of
trash blown by the wind, which was gusting gently, enough to move the bushes
and slap my skin with a taste of spring. As I continued strumming, I
noticed that it wasn’t a piece of trash at all. It was a butterfly. It
looked at first like it was barnstorming the grass, flying low like
butterflies sometimes do – but this one never gained altitude, in fact, it
seemed to be struggling with the concept.

The wind pushed it along and it
tumbled, scrabbling helplessly at blades of grass, attempting to cease the
turbulent path it was being forced to take. I stepped a little closer,
still playing and singing, as it finally found a sturdy bit of growth and
clung there. Finally, I stopped my song and bent down to observe it closer.
Perhaps it was sick, I thought – struck by a car on the nearby road –
not-so-gracefully looking for a place to die. But as I knelt in the wild
grass and got a better look, I was struck by its freshness – its
greenish-yellow blend was bright as a new leaf, wings perfectly formed,
about the size of a small potato chip. No, this was a fresh arrival, I
thought. Too tired from the emergence out of its cocoon to cope with the
burst of air that battled with it for supremacy.

I hesitated. And then I placed a finger next to its body. The little thing
wasted no time in clinging to me as I stood and used my other hand to shield
it from the incessant breeze. We remained there for awhile. I gingerly
turned my hand this way and that, admiring the creature’s functional beauty.
A couple of rough gusts forced its wings to the side and I moved my
impromptu windshield, trying to avoid touching its still-drying appendages.
The tumbling couldn’t be good for the little guy (or girl, I added hastily
in my mind) – but what if placing it somewhere else put it in greater
danger? I suddenly felt involved in this soul’s survival and every option
was weighed heavily as I noticed the lizards skittering in the compost by
the fence. Would placing it back on the ground subject it to more
relentless battering? Or worse: becoming lunch? Would putting him near the
fenceline result in a tumble towards traffic? I finally settled on placing
him on a branch of the tree that was right there – perhaps the very same
tree that he emerged from. In his weary state, he couldn’t have come far.

I raised my finger to one of the smaller twiggish branches and the butterfly
placed one leg, then another upon the greenery, hanging upside down and
resembling just another leaf on the branch. It was then that I noticed some
of the golden-brownish blotches on his wings, nature’s perfect mimickry of
the patterns that leaves possess. Backing away and smiling at the design, I
continued my song, thinking that this soul had a hard battle before it, just
like we all do – and maybe, just maybe, I had done my part in assuring it
had more of a chance than some others. As I moved back into my musical
reverie, I noticed that the farther away I got, the more the butterfly
blended in with its surroundings – looking for all the world like just
another leaf on the tree of life. Hanging in there until it was time to

Or fly away.

It was a wonderful break. And a good rehearsal too. Just thought I’d share
that with you. What lesson did I learn from this encounter? We just gotta
hang in there, baby.

I love you.


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