Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Return of The Butterfly Queen

It was a late summer early afternoon. The wind was blowing softly, the late morning sun touching the plant's gently. And they came.

We had gotten back from Shreveport the night before. Ben had bumbled outside to mow the lawn, and I was cleaning and unpacking. Suddenly, Ben started hollering at the top of his lungs.

"Miranda!" he yelled. "Get out here!"

I took off running, sliding on the tile. Flinging open the door, I fell out as I stumbled through the garage.

"What?"

"Look!" he cried, pointing. My mouth fell open.

The butterflies were swirling around us, so thick the sky became speckled. Black, orange and brown, they weaved through the air gracefully. Ben stood with his arms stretched high, and they drifted around his outstretched fingers gracefully.

"They're back!" I laughed in glee. "They came back!"

"Look at them," Ben said in awe. They're everywhere."

I stood in watched them as they passed by slowly, gracefully painting patterns throughout the air. They created spirals, twists, and waves- intricate paintings our eyes could never see. Their delicate dance through the air never wavered. Then I noticed something strange.

"They're only around our house," I said, puzzled. "Why are they only around our house? Where are they coming from?"

Ben shook his head, unable to answer as he stood and stared into the sky. Butterflies landed on my shoulder, my fingers.

"We told you we would return," they whispered, fluttering quietly. "But we may not be back for awhile."

"Why?" I asked.

"It is time to return to our winter home." the air pulsed gently around my head. "You see, we have a special winter garden. We are able to float gently, with flowers that never frost and grass that is always fresh. We simply wait until spring, when we are able to return. It is a chance to rest, to breathe."

"It sounds beautiful," I said.

"We have a favor though," the wings gently touched my skin. "We need some help."

"Tell me," I said softly. "Anything."

"It's not the time," I felt their tiny feet dance on my arm hairs. "It is not yet time. You will know when it is time, for we will return. Until then, do what you do best."

"What is that?" I whispered desperately. "I don't know what you mean! You're so full of mystery!"

The butterflies continued to stream by me, but now there was only silence. Ben was still laughing in delight, but I stood confused. The magical swirls and dips now only seemed to add to my confusion.

They continued to stream by the windows all afternoon, turning the blue sky into a speckled piece of turquoise. It was painful to drive and see their tiny bodies smash on the winshield. I drove slowly, waving them away and crying, "Move, oh please, move!" Still, some hit the winshield and died. I felt like a terrible person. I felt as if I was murdering these tiny creatures that had caused me so much delight.

Later that afternoon, I stood with Ben in the backyard. A tiny yellow butterfly whirled around us and landed delicately on a flower.

"They're still coming!" I said happily. If only I knew what I could do.

"You're the Butterfly Queen," Ben said, squeezing my shoulder. "Of course, they'll come!"

"And you're the Butterfly King," I teased, leaning my head against him.

The butterfly touched my fingertips softly, then flew away. The wind still held the whisper of their promise.