This I Believe: In Search of Butterflies Spring, 2006
A year ago I heard a woman speak about finding the butterflies in California that February, then taking the bold step of moving there. I took her lead this winter to do the same… looking for signs of spring in the air…literally in the form of butterflies. A week away was just what I felt I needed during winter break at my high school.
The trip was energizing as a friend and I took in the sights and sounds of San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill and its squawking wild parrots and ocean view. Then, the hip and earthy Sebastapol markets satiated my need for wholesome foods, respect for nature and its bounties. From my hotel window, honeysuckle in the air was my wake up call each morning. But alas, no butterflies ……anywhere.
As my sojourn came to a close, I bought some cards & refrigerator magnets adorned with colorful butterflies to bring home, but they were not real.
As I began the “red-eye” flight that would take me back to the cold, snowy northeast, I reflected on my week’s experiences and of missing the family. I also braced myself for another day in a very noisy and active high school in the city.
That evening, I brought the presents for each grandchild … all carefully selected to fit their personalities. It was then, surrounded by the giggles of delighted these children, that I realized that the butterflies were right with me all along. I was surrounded by five special, unique ‘butterflies’ … in the form of my own grandchildren.
These beautiful beings began all the same…incubating in their mothers’ womb and arriving amid great enthusiasm. Each one spent the first year on earth crawling about, exploring their world as it became larger with each growth spurt. Walking quickly turned into running about, spreading their wings to conquer new realms of experience…. while touching the hearts of all they met. They would light just a bit, then be off again exploring, learning, teaching, each with their unique style, ability, and personality, but all with the same enthusiasm.
Now, more than ever, I look at these children in a profound way. They are gifts … from another realm… entertaining us with shrieks of delight at all that is new and exciting to them. A first word, a crayon-colored masterpiece, conquering balance on two wheels of a bicycle, learning letters and how to count up to 10 … these are what they need us to marvel at. And with the wisdom of one far beyond their years, they gravitate only to those who they believe are “the real people.”
The memories being stored of special moments with my “little butterflies” will be sweet when the time comes for them to fly away to begin their “grown-up” lives. The many pictures I take will chronicle their growth, but their spirit will live in my soul forever! This spring, I wish everyone butterflies….in nature and in your hearts!
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.