On the way out the door, I noticed a sparrow. The azalea bush, that has overgrown the close to thirty- inch pine stump by the porch, gave a little shimmy with its leaves as the little creature was looking, and hopping from limb to limb. A little scurry around bird. In the late spring, it isn’t unusual to see a thousand azaleas grace the corner of the house. I watched it, fascinated, as the dead magnolia leaves, pine straw, and azalea leaves made a dance floor under the azalea echoing the sounds of thin scratching claws. Crunching and hopping over the under brush made a soft tune that attracted a pair of cardinals. They weren’t impressed with the search and flew away. So did my unaware bird.
Since I stayed a few minutes, I began to think about how the hurricane, a little more than a couple of years ago, beat the living daylights out of the trees. And how that pine stump used to be a massive pine literally a foot from the porch directly in line with the wind…if forethought had not cut it down. That storm circled around the house, and I stood on that porch and watched it bend an incredible cedar as far as it could bend it without the cedar giving up. And I watched my roses, of no pedigree except that Dad put them there, hug the posts from that terrible wind. Why was I standing on the porch? Because the person that I take care of would not leave, and I could not leave that someone. So, I was there just knowing that the last few roses of the season would be gone, that bud and rose in full bloom.
But that is not what happened at all. After all the hurricane gave, the roses hung on. It was too hot to stay inside because the electricity had been knocked out. So I welcomed the wicked cooling wind that accelerated the aging of my roses. After hours, at the close of the storm, the bud had blossomed into a full beauty, and the full bloom had aged into weathered edges wilting face downward. Impressive that just around the corner of the house it took out another huge cedar that demolished the garage, but the two roses under the eaves made it.
Image via Wikipedia
The analogies for this small story could be endless I suppose. But if you have weathered a storm or two then you need no analogy, and if you haven’t been in a “storm” yet….. well I hope that when you do the lessons learned are easy. It reminds me of the doctor that sliced open my finger to remove a growth. The anesthetic hadn’t kicked in all the way yet, but I was too shy at 16 to say a word. Owie!! As he razored my skin, he said that he hoped this was the worst thing that I would ever know in life. I remember thinking ….me too and if you only knew. I was just a small bud with a little scurry here and there trying to find my way around. Storms are wonderful in that they show up, uninvited, and then they go.
Not long ago, and it seems like a short time only, because I can see it in my mind like a movie in color with sound, but it was years ago when my Dad was here making life seem invincible and we were nature watching. My Dad loved flowers more than my Mother, and would plant them for her, care for them, buy botanical books, and discuss their beauty with her. For years this was part of their life together. Not even a tiny wildflower was without his attention. He would point them out to me, and admire the beautiful and tiniest design. So when my Dad, Mother and I were standing in front of the porch studying and admiring the large over your head Lantana that was blooming, well it wasn’t unusual at all. It was gorgeous, with two circles of colors, yellow in the center and pink on the outside. The ring of circles were really made up of, what looks like up close, miniature flowers. Butterflies adore these flowers. You can’t keep them away! So their official name in the country is, “The Butterfly Bush.” That summer afternoon, warm and picnic like, we stood there enjoying the view until my Dad saw a spider web close to the porch eave cornered right above the Lantana. Immediately we realized that a butterfly had just caught itself in the web, and the spider was raising its spindly legs moving toward the just caught butterfly that was trying to beat its wings to freedom. I picked up a stick, tore at the web, and thought I might have hurt the little creature in the process. I couldn’t believe that the butterfly broke free. It just wasn’t there long enough to permanently stick. Stepping right back in place beside my Dad we quietly watched the just freed butterfly flutter, then it moved toward me, headed straight for my face and landed softly on my cheek before flying away! For an instant, the kiss seemed like a thank you! I looked at my Dad and he looked and me, and we laughed. Butterflies just don’t do this sort of thing. If you try to catch one, they have a way of just keeping out of your reach. The poor thing was probably disoriented, and just ran into me then realizing that I wasn’t a flower decided to move on. We knew that was the true version, but deep down I would like to think that I got a thank you kiss from a butterfly! ……….Terri O.A.