One week ago today I was doing my pool exercises when I saw something so very extraordinary I took a calculated risk to retrieve my cell phone from the buggy it rests in without disturbing the amazing sight.
butterfly on caterpillar body – gently folding and unfolding wings
as it moved its legs across the still corpse
The carcasses of two recently deceased caterpillars lay next to the steps where I entered the pool every day. I scarcely paid any attention to them when I moved down the steps and into the water. After all, the bodies of caterpillars that were casualties of the chlorine were common and a dime a dozen, weren’t they.
I also paid very little attention to the small dark colored butterfly that flew around me in wide circles for about 15 minutes until it came to rest on one of the caterpillar bodies lying on the cement next to the pool steps.
I was so startled at the sight that I stopped my pacing to watch as the butterfly established a kind of rhythm – opening and closing its wings while it moved its legs back and forth across the dead caterpillar. I felt like I was an intruder in a private ritual of grief reserved for these tiny creatures that made our human tears a poor substitute. And then I began to think the butterfly didn’t fly away from me because it sensed my shared sorrow.
Today, exactly one week later, I was on the last leg of my routine early morning walk around the pool when I saw this remarkable sight.
a beautiful large blue black butterfly landed right in front of me
This gorgeous creature flew next to the pool steps, landed, and began to open and close its wings just as the one had last week. I sat down in my buggy seat to better observe what I believe was…what?…the same butterfly from last week…another butterfly…what does that matter really…
What I learned was a powerful lesson about the importance of all creatures great and small, the individuality of grief, the exquisite beauty in hope embraced by a spirit willing to take flight following great loss.