Thursday, March 15, 2007

If I had wings.....

On my daily walk, I saw an unusual sight. I saw a bright blue butterfly floating through the air over the asphalt street. Reaching out, I started towards him when a car came screeching down the street. When it had passed, the butterfly was gone.

As I reached the corner of the building, I saw another butterfly floating by a brightly colored plant. Then, I saw it. A hummingbird was floating near the sage like bush, drinking out of the flowers.

"Wow," I whispered, staring at it. It's emerald green stomach gleamed in the sunlight as it darted from bud to bud.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" the blue butterfly asked, settling on the blossom of a mountain laurel. His wings slowly opened and closed.

"Gorgeous," I said, looking at the hummingbird. A slight buzzing noise filled my ears as he continued to flitter from blossom to blossom. There was no rhyme or reason to the hummingbird's path. He went from one flower to a flower on the other side to a flower in the center in a disjointed, stumbling pattern.

"The hummingbird is a marvel, that's true," the butterfly said, delicately drinking the dew out of the blossom on the mountain marvel. "Small and agile, his wings are as fast as they are fragile."

A slight reservation in his tone caught my ear. "Are you jealous of him?" I asked. "I would think you would be more delicate than he."

"It's a different kind of delicate," the butterfly said, avoiding my question. "We are paper thin and whisper through out the breeze, creating joy whenever we appear in people's lives. We drink out of flowers and skate from one blade of grass to the next. Just a brush of a finger can cut our lives short, or a careless knock from a branch or car."

I squelched my eyes shut. I didn't want to think of terrible things happening to the butterflies.

"The hummingbird, however," the butterfly continued, "is strong. He has a firm torso and core, a firm belief in himself. He busily goes from branch to branch, always eating, always searching. His work is never done. While we float through the day, he struggles through every minute. His wings move so quickly he burns a ton of energy, creating a everlasting hunger that never ceases."

With new eyes, I took a look at the hummingbird. As his jewel toned body flitted through the air, he did appear to be frantic. While the butterfly rested on the blossoms of the mountain laurel, the hummingbird visited each bud briefly, only getting as much nectar out of it as it possibly could and then moving on.

"I had never thought of it that way," I said, feeling sad. "That's really quite depressing."

"Not really," the butterfly said, stretching it's tiny feet lazily. "Do you know someone that's always bustling about?"

"Yes," I answered, images of the people's faces popping in my head.

"Are they happy when they sit with you and read a novel? Or watch a television show?"

"No," I answered, understanding dawning. "They're not. They're absolutely miserable. They're only happy when they're bustling about and being busy."

"Same for the hummingbirds," the butterfly said wisely. "They enjoy the search, they enjoy the chase. They enjoy feeling energy surge through their veins as they search for the next drop of nectar. It makes each flower that much sweeter, that much better. They feel rewarded for their search. When they finally sleep at night, they feel as though they've accomplished a lot."

"It's amazing how similar humans are to animals," I observed. "Most of them don't know it at all."

"The majority of people don't know as much as they think they do," the butterfly said. "They simply don't take the time to think and understand. They want to put everything into neat little boxes, and not everything fits into a box. I wouldn't fit in a box. The hummingbird wouldn't fit in a box."

"No," I grinned. "He'd fly out of it."

The hummingbird buzzed by closer, and the buzzing noise grew louder. I leaned in closer, straining to hear.

"What's he saying?" I asked.

"Listen," the butterfly answered.

I crept closer to the bushes, as slowly as I could. I heard a very faint mutter. "Nownownowquickquicktrythatflowernothatflowernothatflowerhungryhungry
hungrynownownownownownownowhungryhungrynownownownow."

"He talks so fast!" I exclaimed softly, sitting back from the bush so I wouldn't scare the bird.

"For him, life moves fast," the butterfly shrugged. He left the mountain bush to gently land in my hair.

"Is that a hint I should slow down?" I asked.

"Take it as you wish," the butterfly said. "Just as in nature, every human is different. Don't try to cage all the animals into boxes when they need to be free."

"You're leaving again, aren't you?" I said slowly, watching him crawl down my arm.

The butterfly whispered in reply.

"When will you come again?" I asked, knowing what the answer would be. And the answer was the same, as it always was.

"Soon," the faint reply came in the breeze. "I'll be back soon."