If nothing every changed, there'd be no butterflies.
There are milestone moments that come along in our lives we all recognize as important, but then there are these little events that become memorable because other things just fall in place. They don't start out as milestones, but grow into a greater sense of importance with time.
Over the last few years Sheila and I have been to several butterfly exhibits, most recently the Butterfly Conservatory in Key West last year. The beauty and peace of the butterfly gardens had a profound impact on both of us.
So, we decided to build a butterfly garden. With the help of a local landscaper, Jason Johnson, who's become a terrific friend as well, we created a water feature surrounded by plants that attract butterflies. While some species of monarchs have an adult life of nine months, the majority of butterflies have a two week average life as an adult. That's it, and then all that beauty moves on.
Well, this week, while the plants are still very small, we've already had visits from several monarch butterflies. You'd think we'd discovered oil in the back corner of our yard! But there's more to the story.
There's something else the water feature and small garden has given us. Twenty years ago last week Sheila lost two of her brothers in a horrible car accident. Then, thirty days later she lost another brother to a road rage incident in Arizona.
We designed the water feature in the center of the butterfly garden pretty much at random, not thinking of some of the wonderful symbolism it would represent when we picked out three monolith fountains.
The water feature was built in a preexisting mosquito loaded fish pond created by the previous homeowners almost twenty years ago. It was overgrown and buried under years of weeds and neglect. While we weren't thinking about creating our own family memorial at the time, "Allen", "Wally" and "Jimmy," her three brothers, are now part of the peacefulness of the garden. Alan was the tallest, Wally next in line and Jimmy was shorter, the third monolith.
There's no sadness when we sit in front of the garden each night - but more a revelation of life and beauty. I know that sounds pretty sappy, but the comparison between the beauty of a butterfly's short life is so in line with the beauty of Sheila's relationship with the three boys and their short lives.
I've never had a home based place of peace, outside a favorite comfortable "Daddy Chair" where I could just sit and ponder anything I wanted to think about. Or, just enjoy my surroundings. Since that first butterfly, there have been four more and as the weather gets warmer and all the plants grow there will be more "visitors."
So, here's my point - find that special place whether it's in your home, yard or close by in a neighborhood park where you can escape from the pressure and stress that might be grinding you down. There's no such thing as a stress-free life, but there is a balance of peace you owe it to yourself to find. And, just like the way I think about Sheila's loss of the boys, life is too short. Time is your most valuable commodity - don't waste it!
Wishing you a Sunday of peace, time to explore your most important inner thoughts and time with family and friends who make a difference in your life. Go for those eleven-second hugs I always talk about and give yourself a giant pat on the back for everything you accomplished this past week. Look for those little events that helped put a smile on your face - together they just might make some big milestones.
PS The LUMIX FZ300 never fails and now sits right by the back door outside, ready to go at all times!