Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Queen of Spain Fritillary

A honeysuckle-yellow and brick house on Laurel Avenue listened by the train tracks as it backed to an alley.

Sidewalks and grass and a wandering garden of cacti, herbs and wildflowers waited for a little girl who waited for a man with a truck and a dog.

Sometimes the girl and the dog waited together for the man, on the cracked and rolling pavement of the dip-dizzy driveway.

Remember when butterflies mattered?

Just large enough to hold the boat, behind the garden and the humble-bowing house, stood the proud garage. An enormous structure up and huge before the girl and dog could find a new place to wait!

And almost as fast as it was new it was old.  Dusty and cluttered and full of secret smells.

Bamboo fishing poles.
Two baby quail cooing and purring about a custom cage.
Duck decoys for dog training.
Pictures of the little girl.
And of course, the boat.

But we're talking about butterflies and there weren't any butterflies inside this boat-filled building.

A secret, then.  Because you've been so kind I'll share it with you!

Between the garden and the garage was a very narrow lane made for secret-seekers.

First you had to believe there was more than what you saw and then you had to be brave enough to go there, even if you thought you might find less than what you wanted.


I know that's a lot, but secret-seekers must be strong.

But look, there on the roof's ledge just above a scary patch of snarling weeds and precariously suspended on sticky prayers, a chrysalis for the secret-seeker to find!

A tiny, dangling pod of miracle and hope.  A caterpillar wrapped in instinct and trust.

Then the building made sense.  Everything was understood.

Even the guardian dog accepted that the building was so the lane could lead to the chrysalis that would make a butterfly, and she only-just-a-little nervously let the little girl go.

Maybe you're a caterpillar looking for your ledge?

Are you a butterfly already winged and singing gossamer songs?

Or are we still waiting?  The dog after the girl wishing high above to that tiny hope-spun locket?

Well, I'll tell you this.

If a butterfly flew from that pod the girl never saw it.

Not one hint of a budding wing tip.  Not one glistening antennae to broadcast a victory.

Now you see how butterflies can't matter anymore (or yet?), don't you?

You see, the dog still waits for the girl watching the ledge.

And she hasn't finished hoping yet.