Monday, May 4, 2009
A Wonder-Filled Moment
A yellow butterfly just fluttered past my window. It didn't seem to mind how warm it is today. It didn't notice that I'm sitting here on the other side of the window under the fan and dressed in my nobody-can-see-me-in-here shorts.
I'm not an expert on butterflies but I don't think it was a clouded yellow wing like the one in this picture. It was a bit brighter and the markings were a little more defined . But it was pretty and it reminded me of one of the sweetest and most magical moments I ever experienced.
We were living in El Paso, Texas at the time, back in the mid 70s. We had only been there for a year and the three boys, (Skooba hadn't even been imagined at that point) were not in school yet. On a hot summer afternoon, 5 year old Lone Duck was outside playing in the backyard. Even in those pre-sunscreen days, he was safe out there in the hot sun, for short amounts of time, since he browned up like a coffee bean the minute the sun came out in March and stayed that way until it finally wore off the following January. Little Sagie was teething, and, since it was the middle of the day instead of the middle of the night and I had to be awake with his big brothers, he was out like a light.
Jugglesorcerer, my #2 son, was sitting at the kitchen table eating his favorite between meal snack, Cheerios. (At the time he would have eaten Cheerios for breakfast, lunch, and dinner too if I had let him.) JS was used to having to stay inside during the sunniest part of the day. He was and is a fair skinned, be-freckled, light-blue-eyed red head. That big bright orb in the sky was not a friend to this ever curious soon to be four year old.
We had learned that the hard way the previous summer when he took his t-shirt off in the wading pool, while my back was turned. In less than 10 minutes, he had 2nd degree burns across his shoulders and upper chest and back. He had to wear an uncomfortable gauze shoulder pad style bandage, soaked in smelly burn ointment for about three weeks. He was pretty good now about staying out of the sun.
Anyway...back to the Cheerios. Since the air conditioner on our rented house was not particularly reliable, I had left the kitchen door that led to the patio open to let the little air circulate. JS sat next to the open door while I was fixing sandwiches for LD and myself. Suddenly I heard this enchanting sound. Imagine a pixie giggling in the garden. Turning around I asked, "What was that happy sound?" Then I spotted the reason for the mirth.
JS had his Cheerios almost to his mouth, but perched on the bowl of the spoon was a beautiful yellow butterfly. It was delicately sipping the milk from his spoon. Instinctively my little one knew to stay very still and he froze except for the ever widening grin on his freckled face. I don't know how he managed to hold the pose for so long, but he did. Of course, there were no digital cameras to grab in those days, and I knew there wasn't any film in the old Instamatic. But I still can see, even thirty-five years later, the sparkle of wonderment in those blue eyes and the joy that filled his entire being. Then in slow motion the butterfly lifted off the spoon and planted a butterfly kiss on his little spotted nose. Again the enchanting chortle bubbled up and the little visitor flew out the door.
I gathered him in my arms, we watched the butterfly land on a flower, and I asked him again what was that happy sound that never escaped his lips.
He grinned at me and said, " Mommy, I think my heart laughed."
(Sorry, I can not name the artist who created this collage as she chooses to remain anonymous.)
It's not hard to remember that moment any time I see a butterfly. What triggers sweet memories for you from long ago?
See ya down the road,