I am such a fibber…I know. And yes, I do apologize. I promised we would return to part three of Ethics for all Humanity, and now I am changing my mind…or was that losing my mind? (I’ll explain shortly). Anyway, part three will just have to wait another week. Again, my humblest apologies, but I want to talk a little about butterflies.
What happened Before…
Despite the insistence by scientists that time travel is simply not possible, I know that it is. If I close my eyes, I can instantly enter the experience (the only experience) I have in my memory of being three years old, and it becomes real again, and right now. Anything before about eight has always been a shadowy unsure mess of half-remembered ghosts, but what happened before has always been crystal clear…strange, I think…
Perhaps the best way to relay the story is to repeat what my mother told me when I first remembered what had happened and asked her to fill in the details: “It was the middle of summer, quite warm and sunny, with no clouds in the sky. I was working in the kitchen making lunch when I heard you giggle. The problem was, I had only turned my back on you for a few minutes, and even though you had giggled, I didn’t know where you were. After calling your name to make sure you were not somewhere else in the house, I heard you start to laugh and nearly squeal with delight, and I realized you had snuck out the screen door and into the back yard.
No Alfred Hitchcock here…
There you were, sitting in the middle of the yard on the grass, giggling and laughing like no tomorrow. Covering you almost completely were hundreds of butterflies of all sorts, and there must have been a thousand or more spiraling above your head in a strange tornado-like way. Stunned, I ran back into the house and went looking for the camera. By the time I finally found it and raced back into the yard, it was over. All but a few butterflies remained, and they were quickly fluttering off about their business.”
I was too young at the time to grasp what had happened intellectually; but I remember the way it felt – and unconsciously my life has always been motivated by a desire to return to that feeling, that state of being. I don’t know how, but I and the butterflies were one, and I knew everything about them, and they knew everything about me.
Kicked in the heart by a butterfly
I was standing in the yard two weeks back, staying out in the sunshine while talking to a few friends who preferred the shade of the picnic table, when a Monarch butterfly flew into the yard and made a bee-line for me (butterfly-line?); landing on the hand I instinctively held up when I realized it wasn’t going to change course. Somehow, the butterfly communicated its wishes to die comfortable and protected to me, and I passed up going out with my friends and held it for nearly six hours before it died. The butterfly never did fly again once it landed on my hand, and I cried huge tears when I realized it had passed away. The experience shook me – not on a level in regards to the event, which I think was perfectly natural. For some strange reason, the communication between the butterfly and me made me hyper-sensitive, and I felt a little over-whelmed.
Just a few days ago, it happened again. I was pulling some stubborn weeds from the lawn and when I stood up and turned around – there was no time to even think – and the Monarch landed on my shirt, just below my collar. Again, I somehow felt it was done flying, and as with the other butterfly, it never did fly again. I lay down in a lawn chair with a book, the butterfly crawling around my chest until it finally stopped moving and faded away.
I can’t tell you why, or how these butterflies came to choose me, but I feel very blessed. When I think of these frail, delicate-looking and ever-so beautiful butterflies using the jet stream to travel thousands of kilometers to mate, the predators and environmental terrors they face…I realize the power that Life can lend even the weakest appearing creature. Thanks to the butterflies, I am reminded of my inevitable friend Death and his advice to savor and enjoy every moment while living.
Most of all, I am reminded that all life is precious, special, and has wondrous gifts to offer each one of us, if we will just stop long enough to pay attention.
Namaste, my precious friends…