Saturday, January 31, 2004

Time Flies, Butterflies

Last time we took Willow to Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens she was, mostly, terrified; this time, she loved it all. For fortyfive minutes until closing time, she ran around the tightly networked greenhouse garden, peered through the wooden bridge slats at the giant koi, squatted along the pavement in the unwitting middle of other people's photographs, laughing as she reminded herself to look wi' eyes. No touch!. What a difference a year makes.

Shared happiness, of course. It was seventy degrees in the middle of winter there under the glass, and hardly busy: a nice place to be in the setting sun. Great brown-speckled moths and zebra-striped butterflies flew by us in swoops and swarms, while their smaller lacewinged cousings sipped nectar from bright sponges just out of reach; in the corners. A tiny greenbacked hummingbird fed itself on hothouse flowers inches from our faces, its body seemingly weightless, its wings mere disturbances in the air beside.

Taking a last lingering look around the fluttering air on our way out to the truckstop diner for steak, grits, and overeasy eggs we spotted a veryyoung couple clutching each other and crying in the back, by the bower and benches -- two kids, probably up from UMass, she with an Army surplus store handbag, he in a Beck/Beatles harcut, carefully mussed, and a velvet ring box on the bench behind them; two kids, I thought at first, surely far too young to make it to where we are now, and what kind of life together starts at the butterfly gardens, and costs $7.50 per person?

And then I looked down at my family, buttoning up against the cold beside me, and how lucky I am to have them here with me in the butterfly gardens on a spare Saturday in January, and how young my wife and I were when we dropped out of college together ourselves. And thought about our own engagment, in the only restaurant we could find open on Christmas Eve: no more auspicious, and far less well planned.

So in pennance for my cynicism, here's to the happy couple. May their life together be filled with bright colors, light hearts, and warmth in the worst of winters, as it started. If we can have it, then why not, after all, anyone else?

posted by boyhowdy | 10:24 PM |

Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening