Friday, May 13, 2011

Topaz and Ebony Wings

I experienced something yesterday evening that I can only describe as magical - and so, of course, I share it with you.

It was evening. The sun was beginning to cast its last golden rays upon the world. My siblings had been playing with the hose on the deck, so the floorboards were moist. I went out the back door and stood there, on the deck, about to call out to the kids - when I spied something on the boards near my feet. It was a beautiful winged creature - at first glance a butterfly, but on closer inspection more likely a moth - with wings of bright orange and black. It simply sat there, unmoving except for an occasional shift in its wings. Then a moment later it fluttered upwards and flew, making several circles in the air, each time getting closer to the deck - until finally it landed right on my foot.

I froze. I didn't want to break the spell the butterfly had cast in that one act of unknowing trust. If it had been someone else, I don't know what might have happened to the creature. When Nathan saw it outside later on, he actually asked me if he could squash it (he was removed to the indoors in a hurry, suffice it to say). But I had no intent to hurt it. I wanted nothing more than for that moment to stay as long as I could keep it. The little butterfly held very still, sunning its wings (which I later assumed must have been dampened by the hose) upon my very skin, trusting that I would not upset it. I didn't. I held perfectly still for several minutes, watching it intently, until it finally lifted itself and flew to a new spot.

It repeated this cycle several times - take off, circle around, land again - each time touching down on a new part of the deck. I sat there on the quickly-drying floorboards and watched it, trying to hold onto that little piece of magic and preserve it in my memory. It was like seeing a faerie, living and breathing and flying before my very eyes. This gentle creature, with wings that even a strong wind or hard rain could have torn, was allowing me to look upon it, standing quietly by as it exposed itself to the life-giving sun.

That is one kind of magic that fills this world - the little, delicate, beautiful things that fill our lives with color. Even more magical, though, was that moment when the little faerie chose to put its trust in me, if only for a moment. In a world governed so dominantly by the rule of survival of the fittest, it is magical that this little creature - whose wings could be torn to ribbons by even a strong wind or hard rain - should even be alive, let alone that it should choose, by whatever instinct it possesses, to land upon a creature far bigger, stronger and fitter than it, and trust that that creature would not harm it. What faith - or perhaps blindness. I cannot say. I would like to believe that it was faith.

At length, the butterfly's wings were finally dry enough to keep him aloft. He left the deck for the last time and flew toward the roof - where we watched another butterfly join it, and together the pair flew skyward in a dazzling flutter of topaz and ebony wings.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rachel-

    I enjoyed your description of a simple moment in such a beautiful way. It's not often a butterfly chooses you to land on and I love how you described the moment. I could picture it all happening out on the deck and no one else even noticing. Thanks for the morning thought!

    Love, Mom