Walking through the downtown crowd, though small it was still suffocating, the tap of freedom swooshed passed my ear. To my surprise the lovely wing that brushed me belonged to Monarch butterfly. She whispered something in my ear that I could not hear from the blasts of motorcycles passing by. I ran after her as fast as I could, then I stopped as to not frighten her.
She weaved in and out through the people. They did not see, but I chased after her. I had to know what she was saying. I would get close enough to get a picture, then she would flail by, but would not leave me. She was playfully teasing me. I looked back at my mom and said: “I have to get her!” My mom said: “I know what you are doing.” with an eye roll and added: “I have a hair brush in my purse.” She was referring to the many times that I wandered away from home chasing butterflies. She did spank me, on occasion, for “Chasing butterflies”.
Those were my words not hers. She spanked me for leaving the yard and wandering off scaring her death because she couldn’t find me. I did not know that fear, but now that I have children of my own I have felt that fear with Daniel wandering off, though I would not spank him. There is something about butterflies that I seem to have no control over myself when they come in-sight. This particular butterfly seemed to want me to follow her.
Remembering that I am a mother for a moment I looked back to check on the kids, my mom had them. I looked at her longingly for permission to catch my butterfly. She shook her head at me and said: “Go, I have the kids. You can’t stop yourself anyway.” I followed the lovely butterfly trying to capture her on my camera. She would stop on a car to wait for me, and then she would fly off. As she zig zagged with her wings full flight over people, over their heads, and landing on tables looking at me she seemed to smile.
The people around me didn’t notice her at all until I almost caught her and snapped a quick picture. I nearly toppled over a fella who was walking with his girlfriend. I had no apologies until after I took the shot only to discover I did not get her fully. I shouted: “I have to get a picture of her!” The guy laughed and said: “Yes, she is a beauty.” The girlfriend did not seem that pleased with me as she gave a look to indicate so. The butterfly flew around the fella and he laughed with me as we shared a moment of appreciation.
I captured the scene of the man, he was covered in tattoos. They surrounded his neck and covered his arms, and the short intake of image I had of him was pleasant. I smiled a very big smile at him and looked him in the eyes for a split second. I am not sure what the butterfly told him, but I think she told him a tale as well. We nodded heads and I went on trying to capture her. She landed on books sitting outside the small bookstore. She then landed on a bench, only for a moment.
We got to the end of the sidewalk where the railroad tracks are, and when you cross the street you are at the docks by the river. I looked around and she was gone. Mom, the kids, and I walked to the docks. As we walked a huge crow “cawed” out and I followed him to a tree. There were three other crows and a pigeon all sitting in the hollowed tree limbs, naked from no leaves. I asked them to tell me a story, but they just stared at me.
I tried to capture them on my camera too, but only got mediocre shots. Still I stood under the tree looking up at them, waiting. Finally, mom had enough of my silliness and said: “Come on, let’s keep walking.” So we walked on the docks, and an entire story that my mom had never shared before began to unfold. She opened up to me about her one love that she had never gotten over. He died of throat cancer when I was 23 or 24 years old possibly 25 I blocked it. It hurt too much. By all accounts he was the best man my mom ever dated, from what I knew anyway.
He treated my sisters and me the best out of the men my mother had been with. I worked for him before they dated — he was one of the best bosses I ever had. He always treated me with respect, and showed that he saw the value in my work. A few years later when they started dating I was overjoyed. As my mom shared her story I was stricken with deep sadness, and turmoil. I am still processing the events that took place, and the tale that my mother shared that she has never shared with anyone else.
It came over me how incredibly lonely this world is for so many people at times. She and I both have held on to such painful stories. We did not share with each other for fear of bothering each other, or not wanting the other to feel the pain we were going through. I did not share many of the pains that I was going through in my life with her. Then again, she was not in a place to be able to hear them. She didn’t see the value in talking about them, she felt like painful events just needed to go away. I think there were deeper reasons sometimes for me chasing butterflies as a child.
I think there are deeper reasons for me to continue to chase them as an adult. I will not stop chasing them because they always have a story to tell. They always hold a tale that can open up someone’s heart or can open our eyes to beauty that others do not see. I may not have caught that butterfly completely on camera, but I caught her tale. She whispered in my ear, and I saw a guy who for some reason needed to smile and to enjoy a butterfly with someone this past Saturday. I also got to experience my mom gain freedom from a past that haunted her, and I saw her feel her own self-worth.
As I was chasing the butterfly this song Carla Bruni – Quelqu’un m’a dit was in my mind for some reason, I think this is a wonderful song. I believe I thought of it because when I first heard it the guitar made me think of butterfly wings. Translated lyrics
(The untrue parts are of the butterfly speaking to me. :-))