The Butterfly - Written Late April, 1976

March 12, 2000

One month from today I expect to be gone from these woods. I am trying to get in as much writing and picture taking as possible.

Today was the butterfly's day.

Sandi and I went walking this morning; again it was "unseasonably" warm. It was a hazy day, the northern blue obscured with a mist of cloud. We went looking for deer and smelled the fragrance of the woods. After walking to almost the end of the road, I had not taken one picture. The deer were as elusive as ever.

We turned back and made our way down the sandy lane. Signs of life were popping out of the ground all around us. Soon the ferns would begin to spread their big green leaves across the forest floor. I wondered if we where the only living moving things in the forest today.

Just before we got to the camp gate, a butterfly visited us.

It was a small creature, with brown wings ringed in blue. It danced about looking for a place to light.

So we walked, and I chased it for about 5 minutes. Finally it took a liking to my left arm and landed halfway between my wrist and elbow. It felt so strange, lightly walking across the hairs on my arm.

Poof, in a second it was gone, only to return and land on my left hand.

Slowly I kneeled to the ground, and opened the camera bag. I lowered the camera from my right shoulder and took off the telephoto lens, exchanging it for the close-up lens, using only my right hand. Finally, just as I was ready to take a picture, the butterfly took off again, and danced among the spring greenery on the side of the road.

Time after time I approached the butterfly, but it flittered away before I could snap a picture.

Finally I stopped and tried a different technique. I figured the creator of all this, could dispatch that butterfly to my hand again.

"Please, Make it land, I really want to take some pictures."


I don't think so.

The butterfly landed on my left thumb and stayed, and stayed and stayed. Have you ever tried to hold a heavy camera with one hand, focus, use the light meter, and take pictures from a range of 6 inches, with a butterfly on your other hand?

I had not. The butterfly clung to my thumb. It did not just stay there; it hung on for dear life till I was finished. I took about 12 or 13 pictures from many different angles. Several times as I held it up to the light, the wind threatened to blow it off of my finger. The butterfly stayed.

When I was through, and the camera was back in its case, I said;

"Thank you, send it on its way."

In an instant it was gone.

I asked, and a brown butterfly trimmed in blue, clung to my left thumb.

It had stayed against the spring winds trying to blow it away.

It was a simple request, for a simple thing. But I had figured, who better?