Floats Like a Butterfly


The sun was coming in from the east at a 30° angle. It palmed my arm with a pleasant, ambient heat, like the warmth from leaning on the radiator on a cold morning. It had just pulled the last chill from the air. The chill was gone, but you knew it was just gone.

The robin darted in front of us. Again. I keep looking for her nest. There must be a nest somewhere because she’s been buzzing us the past few weeks, distracting us from her treasure. She’s very good at the distracting because she has come at us from every direction. I thought her nest was in the eaves in the porch, but that was one of her tricks. I searched the hedges, but couldn’t find it. There’s been nests there before.

I’m thinking that it must be on the other side of the elephantine boxwood–the blob that has grown to overtake the west side of the front yard. Only the feral cats, the raccoons and maybe the hideous possums fit between the oversized shrubbery and the hedge that lines the fence. I hope that the cats don’t get to her babies. I know they definitely get to The Beast, getting inside his head and playing games with his hunter’s brain.

Our gardening is fairly God-driven. That is, whatever God puts there is there. We’ve worked over the years to pull up the invasive vines and in its place, the deity has left what resembles thick grass. She also deposited some small mounds of clover dotted with tiny yellow flowers. Somebody said these were weeds. They are beautiful.

This late spring morning the mounds are dappled with  water droplets. The mini globes reflect the sunshine. Some of some of them are prisms, displaying today’s lesson in the color spectrum. At first I think that The Beast is eating the greenery, but see that he’s browsing the surface of the leaves and petals, lapping up the dew as if it’s puppy nectar.

Just above his big brow, I see the movement of a butterfly. The wings open and close slowly, like a baby’s eyes as she’s ready to doze. The edges of the wings are lined charcoal black, like a magazine model’s smokey eye. Inside the frame is a paisley of bluish black, orange and brown, flecked with gold and pale yellow. The butterfly rises from his perch and floats above the dog’s nose and to the boxwood where it pauses, just for a second. In two more beats of its wings, he’s back and dancing around the head of The Beast who looks up and follows, disinterestedly, with one big brown eye before he returns to sup on the clover.

I follow the butterfly, too. I reach for my phone to capture the exchange but my pocket is empty. Relieved of my documentation duties, I am fully immersed in the slow opening and closing of the wings and the oddness of both floating and turning and abruptly changing directions at the same time.

The butterfly rises above the hedge and flies away.

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