Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Butterflies and My Father
Say hello to my father
After my father passed away, I began associating his presence with butterflies. No, he wasn’t dainty or flighty. It comes from a story my sister told me. My parents lived on an island along the eastern coast where golf carts are seen as frequently as cars or bikes. She and my father used to go for rides past a heavily wooded area we refer to as the Jungle.
The ground is thickly covered in green and lizards and long, leafy vines entwined with spanish moss drape tirelessly over the trees. The area, by nature, is dark and not especially welcoming. At the same time, it is mysterious and intriguing. One can’t help but wonder who or what its inhabitants are, especially when squawks, screeches, and wailing erupt from the tree branches without warning.
My father used to joke that it was home to a family of royal leopards and that the squawking and screeching was simply a formality. The leopards had to be announced wherever they went, much like in the old days with brightly dressed men and long, golden horns. If you hear them, they must be close!
My sister went for a jog past the jungle shortly after he died. A butterfly with leopard spots shot out of the jungle and danced circles around her head. It was so extraordinary, so very unusual. The moth’s appearance was so odd that she knew immediately it was my father joining her. The next day, the very same thing happened.
Since then, whenever she sees a butterfly she says hello. If she’s fortunate enough to have a camera, she takes his photograph. If it flits around too much, she asks him to settle for the picture. He always does.
The same is true for me. Every time I see a butterfly, no matter what his coloring, I welcome him and ask him to let me take his picture. Much to the surprise of others, he always does. He came this morning and allowed me to photograph him.
Say hello to my father …