Today was a humid day for hiking. Rain was nearby all day. The air was thick but the temperature was pleasant enough to open the sunroof and roll the windows down. The sun was in and out, as if it couldn’t decide whether or not to stay. Thunder rolled miles in the distance, but I’ve never been afraid of thunder so I didn’t let it stop me. A quick trip around the lake was the plan. That way if the rains came I wouldn’t be too far from the car. As soon as my feet hit the trail, my spirit relaxed. A butterfly flitted by and I made note that I have seen butterflies all over the place in the last week or so. I love that. Butterflies always remind me of new life. I am fascinated by them.
It was quiet along the trail today, giving me time to think. Thinking is not always a good thing. Soon I noticed two butterflies that seemed to be following me. I imagined that they were sent as a distraction from my ponderings. They darted all around me and made me smile. New life.
The lake shimmered and the spring greens from the trees reflected there, only interrupted by the plunk of a fisherman’s hook splashing…creating ripples across the surface of the mirror. I was noticing new trees down since I was last here. That is the beauty of having a “regular” trail, you get to know it intimately…every root, and rock, every tree and bush. You know where the deer hide and where the ducks and geese paddle around. You know where there will be people and where it will be isolated. On this day, I was in need of isolation to breathe in the peace surrounding me…taking it into myself and allowing it to wash over me from the inside.
Another butterfly, an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, along the path caught my attention, because it was the third one in such a short distance. I am sure there is some scientific explanation for why I have seen so many…maybe pollination time or time for eggs to be laid. But I decide instead to think of them as messengers from God. I know that a butterfly’s life span is extremely short, so I am honored that several of them seem to have decided to spend a few moments with me.
As I walk, more join my hike and soon I have five or so crisscrossing the trail in front of me. I begin to feel a bit like Cinderella when the birds crowd around her and sing. The yellow and black wings create sporadic flights, which look to be dive-bombing runs all around me. They have my full attention now, and I am mesmerized with the message whisper on their wings. New Life.
I round the curve and cross the fishing bridge. No one is there today…except for a cloud of butterflies. I stop because I do not want to disturb their dance. There must have been 20 or 30 of them. Flying all around me. Many are sitting on the ground and stretching their wings as they rest, and when I approach to try to get a picture they all take flight. In the air, the cloud grows and I am overwhelmed with the number and how delicately they fly. I take several minutes and just take it all in. It is exquisite. I am reminded of how they start out, and how they end up…transformed. Nothing from the old caterpillar remains all is new.
I move on past the butterflies. A few follow me for a bit, and all along the rest of the trail I see more of them periodically. On my drive home I see probably 6 more along the road. Each one whispers, “new life.” Each one a work of art. If God can design such beautiful little creatures, I know he can design and orchestrate my life and each time I see a butterfly I remember that and peace comes over me like a flood.