19 Days of Illuminated Darkness: Day Five

Butterfly Wings

Today’s post is a little gift of flash fiction I wrote many years ago in the spirit of the season. Enjoy...

The birds woke me early this morning! Their insistent chirping sounded like a chorus of excited children calling me to come out and play. I stretched and sat up looking out through my small window; it’s glass reflected with morning’s first light. I could see the small wooden gate of the garden I had planted earlier in the Spring. This was my refuge. I had spent months poring over seed catalogues and I had lovingly selected each flower that would grace its landscape. The design had come easily and the natural placement of tall trees offered just the correct amount of shade and light.

I dressed quickly in my favorite tank top and shorts. The light was streaming in through the window of the front door and caught me in a shaft of its golden light as I stepped out onto the grassy lawn. I was eager to see what new blossom might have emerged as I slept dreaming in my bed and ran down the little hill that led to the entrance to my green world. I pushed the gate open and stepped onto the path I had laid of round stones surrounded by thyme. I stood perfectly still taking in the fragrant aroma of flowering trees and a tapestry of assorted flowers that lined the path. I feel safe in this small space of my own. The trees and flowers are like old friends who welcome me as I come to visit and spend time in their green home. And, I never tire of the new stories that unfold with each visit. I breathe in deeply and walk deeper into the maze of this green and beautiful world. I begin to hum a little tune in rhythm as my feet make a gentle tapping sound on the stony path. This is my own composition inspired by what I have helped to create. The sun is warm and strong and this is the grand spotlight as I continue my song of voice and foot on stone. The sounds of birds and insects join in and the rustling of the leaves create the chorus for my beautiful garden melody. When I am in this space, time seems to stand still and nothing else matters except the warm sun on my face and the life that is all around me.

I’ve finally arrived at my favorite and most magical space in the entire garden. I call this my dreaming place. This is where I come to sit and dream; to create and to be just myself. It had not always been such a special place. In fact, it was the one area that was the most densely covered with weeds and bramble. It took forever to clear and I was sore for days after. It was well worth the effort, and I remember the excitement and joy I felt when I first saw the chair in the window of the thrift store. It was crafted of wood and had rounded graceful corners that wrapped comfortably around torso and limbs.

I sit down and relax into the support of the chair and close my eyes, feeling the warm sun on my face and body and am glad to be alive on such a beautiful morning. I take a few deep breaths and suddenly feel the gentle brush of wings against my cheek and open my eyes just in time to see a beautiful blue butterfly right in front of me. It hovers over the tips of several of the flowers, stopping here and there and fanning wings open and closed. I follow the pattern of this beautiful creature as it moves from flower to flower and finally comes to rest directly beside me on a tall coneflower. I remain perfectly still, not wanting to disturb it and it goes about its work of busily gathering what it needs.

I remember how long I waited for some of these flowers to reach full bloom and waited even longer still for the birds and butterflies to find their way to this space. I realize how much I love my garden and the joy from that feeling is indescribable. I lean back, settling deeper into the comfort of my chair and close my eyes. The image of the butterfly fills my mind’s eye and I feel myself lifted on gossamer blue wings as a new adventure begins and the vision of this garden warms the bitter chill of the long dark Alaskan winter’s night.

Photo Credit: Abdullah Chaudhry
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