Earlier in the month, when the grands were visiting, Kezzie and I were looking out the wide expanse of the living room window before we had breakfast. This view is the best view from our house, especially on summer mornings, when the birds are visiting the birdbaths, splashing and drinking and socializing, as birds are wont to do.
I noticed the bowls were empty. Now, that can’t be allowed, can it? Of course not, so, clandestinely, Kezzie and I, still in our pajamas (but, who would know?), scurried out to fill them up. (The bird baths, not our pajamas.)
As I was tugging the hose, I felt a slight lightening of my load. “Pull, Yia Yia. Pull some more. Pull harder” and so, I did, all the way up to the bird bath closest to the window, where Papa was watching us, and took this picture.
We finished filling all six of the watering holes, and slipped inside before Mommy and Daddy knew what we were up to. Well, we didn’t go in right away. First, we checked a few flowers and discovered these hungry, hungry caterpillars on the meadow rue.
Over the next several weeks, I watched these munching machines, hard at work, growing fatter and fatter, decimating my rue. Sure they were tiger swallowtails, I took pictures on many-a-day. The neighbors must surely wonder about me. I wonder about me.
As time went on, the caterpillars munched their way away from the rue; somewhere they roamed to spin their cocoons and morph into swallowtails, while I morphed into a traveler, and wandered up to Minnesota, hauling a seesaw, a bird bath, and a loaf of zucchini bread, compliments of our community garden plot.
We read and we played, Kezzie and I. Ezra crawled and grabbed everything he could reach, clapping and learning to wave bye-bye. The time went too fast and the way home was long, but finding one’s way back home comes eventually, and that is where I needed to go.
So, up early I was, and packed when Ezra awoke. This little charmer played nicely in his Pack and Play as I lugged my belongings out to the car. As I shoved the last vessels of my journey into the trunk, trying harder than hard not to be sad, I noticed something yellow on the walkway up to the house. Getting closer, I saw it was a butterfly. What looked to be a tiger swallowtail,. Flattened. Had I stepped on it, unknowingly? Son-in-law, Tom, when he left earlier? Had it been injured?
Now I did feel very sad. Sadder than sad, and went into the house to look for something to scoop it up with, Ezra smiling and muttering baby sounds. I grabbed the camera and a piece of paper, and went back out, bent down, and slowly touched a wing. It moved. The wind? My touch? Another move, then a quiver of one one wing. A tremble. An antenna groped, then the other wing moved, then both, shuttering, all in a few seconds,. As suddenly as sudden can be, the butterfly flapped it wings, and flew; up, past the window, the door. Up and away into the new morning sky, warmed, I surmised, by the sun.
“Wait. Come back, No, fly, fly away” – and it did, reminding me that my time to leave was at hand.
How wondrous it was to find this swallowtail, four hundred miles and four weeks after Kezzie and I discovered those caterpillars. I needed to see it just when I did, preparing myself to fly away home, connecting the moments of my life, but, first, Ezra and I hugged and Kezzie and I gave each other a butterfly kiss.