Monday, May 3, 2010
When our dog Bronte died a few years ago I was inconsolable. It was a sunny day in July and after we came home from the veterinarian's office, there was a butterfly floating around in the front yard that landed on my knee. I comforted myself by thinking it was a sign from Bronte that she was alright wherever she was. Now, any time I see one, I am apt to break out in a secret smile. On a recent trip to the Butterfly Conservatory in Deerfield, Mass., we visited a room filled with butterflies of all shapes, sizes and colors. To see the joy on a child's face when a butterfly chose to land on them was an even better sight to behold than the gliders themselves. Last week I purchased a copy of "The Writing Life" by Annie Dillard at the Five Colleges Book Sale. Upon opening it I was treated with a gift from a former reader - proving that butterflies and surprises show up when you least expect them, but often when you need them most.
A week ago Saturday we all went shopping at the grocery store. This is unusual. Grocery shopping is one of those chores that slipped to a weekday schedule as we gained more and more children who have to be entertained in the cart. But last Saturday we all went after spending a few hours at the book sale because you can't eat books and afterwards, as we were falling exhaustedly into our seatbelts, I asked Luca, "What's in your hand?" He opened his fist in pure surprise. "Hey, a butterfly," he answered. Hatched from his palm as if from a cocoon. He had no idea where it came from, which isn't unusual for Luca, so we decided to trust this particular destiny and bring the butterfly home. Obviously, it needed a family. Now the butterfly hangs from a nail on our porch and sometimes I call it Paddington, when I remember to call it anything at all.