Simple gifts   Leave a comment

I got out the other day to take a walk down to the creek.  It breaks the school day up well for me, and there is nothing like even twenty minutes outside to refresh me.   Working in the morning with the two younger kids, utilizing patience and creativity, I sometimes forget there is anything in my existence but math facts, physical therapy exercises, and cursive practice.

October is probably justly famous for its fearless, arresting blue skies, and this day was not an exception to the rule.  Jewel-like skies overhead, insects humming faintly amongst the remaining flowers, rag weed, fleabane, the random shaft of rich ironweed (don’t you love how these fall flowers all have strong names?), and the call of an occasional American toad, accompanied me down our long driveway, out to the gravel road, and around the front triangle of the land where we have a very messy and overgrown native plant area.

At the very apex of the triangle of the land, there’s a culvert, and in that spot where the gravel road stays a bit damp, were masses of tiny blue sulphur butterflies, more than I have ever seen before in one place.  A fluttering cloud arose in protest as I came near.  I paused and crouched down, waiting for them to forget my presence.  Normally, the time you see them is when they fly and their lovely pale blue inner wings flicker.  As with many butterflies, the outer surfaces of their wings are not brightly colored, and when closed, it’s difficult to spot them.

In this case there were so many gathered together that I was able to get a better look at some individuals.  I was amazed at the soft, brushed, shimmery gray of their outer wings, shining in the sunlight.  Their tiny antennae aloft, they sat peacefully, many of them slowly brushing their rear wings against each other in small soothing circles, like I do with my toes in the bed when cuddling down for the night.  Their microscopic loveliness was transfixing.

I stayed for several minutes, occasionally moving to stir them up again for a glimpse of the magical blue inner wings, then watching again as the mass of fluttering vanished, to give way to the peaceful wing polishing.

Among any number of discoveries on my afternoon walks, this one surprised me…I wasn’t expecting butterflies soothing themselves back to calmness.  I am sure there is a scientific explanation for their behavior.  For me, seeing a cloud of little creatures enjoying the heat of a quiet gravel road was a reminder of the simple glory all around me — a reminder that God’s hand holds and sustains beauty at an almost microscopic level, and that that beauty remains even when I can’t even remember what day it is.

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Posted October 10, 2011 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

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