Isn't the above photo just beautiful? It is an image from space, I think taken during a solar eclipse but not sure. I think this particular one looks like a butterfly.
Speaking of butterflies, that's something I've seen a lot less of this year, this dry summer with late rains and too hot heat. I suppose that like most things, cicadas and gnats for example, there are just years without as many. I've heard a few cicadas this year, but nothing like the never ending loud droning of them in some years. They are a cyclical creature and every seven years or so there is a gluttony of cicadas who hatch out and sing for all they are worth and drive you nearly mad as even a closed up house with AC and television running cannot quite drown out the sound. I'm a huge fan of House Hunters International and a couple meant to live on a Greek island. One of the houses they visited there were cicadas singing so loudly outdoors they could hardly be heard speaking to the camera. I thought should I ever find that island in Greece I might close my eyes and hear the sound and dream myself back in my own Georgia summer once more and even perhaps wake in the night confused that I was in Greece and not at all in Georgia.
But butterflies...Not so many this year. I saw more yesterday on my way home hovering over what we call butterfly weed which is a tall twiggy looking plant with few leaves and the tiniest of purple flowers atop which butterflies love beyond reason considering the general un-showiness of the plant. Yesterday I saw more and the roadside seemed to be alive with fluttering. And still it is much, much less than in years past.
One year, a year I really should refer to as the Year of the Butterflies, we hatched a record crop right here on our land. There were butterflies everywhere! There was one spot in the driveway where they particularly loved to eat, drink and flit about. I shall never forget the wonder of walking to the mailbox and suddenly finding myself in the midst of hundreds, yes really hundreds, of all sorts of varieties and some of them lit upon my face and arms and shoulders and shirt and head and hummed their wings past my ears and I stood stock still and let them cover me and declared it one of those special magical moments of pure wonderment and awe. The sort of moment we expect when we're small and forever awed. The sort of moment we forget we might experience when we're all grown up and slightly jaded by the world at large. It was just what I needed to jolt me back to that special place of expecting AWE which is desperately needed, I might add, when you are a middle aging, overweight, tired woman. It does a body good to remember we can be the center of awe worthy moments even when we ourselves are rather mundane.
I've heard of people who are afraid of butterflies but I've never been. I can remember chasing them as a child, but never thought I'd like to really capture them, certainly not chloroform and pin them down to a foam board as characters in my books were forever doing. I was blissfully satisfied to amble over meadow and field and trample flowers chasing them just to see where they might go. Never one to tear off their wings either as some crueler children were known to do, or as will cats, who have no soul where butterflies are concerned.
At one time I believe I recall a book of photographs of butterfly wings, and perhaps an art exhibit which used photos to create letters of a person's name. Did you know the spots on the backs of the wings are called 'eyes' and are meant to startle away predators who apparently prefer to do their preying upon things that can't see them? Or that butterflies must have sun upon their wings each morning to dry them out and warm their bodies to allow them to begin to fly. That is why you'll often find them on a cooler damper morning sitting upon a leaf with their wings gently beating up and down like a slow motion video of their usual flying mode.
We visited the butterfly house at Callaway Gardens one year and the woman who managed the house told of traveling back from South America with a shipment of butterflies which she carried on in a briefcase of sorts. I liked imagining the butterflies carefully lined up like so many colorful files inside and then imagining the opening of the briefcase and how they would all suddenly flutter up and away when the briefcase was opened.
And since we are rambling, I recall a book, a very special true book I read many moons ago about a Victorian woman who took herself off round the world to chase butterflies of all things, and how she did venture and adventure and then dared to fall in love with someone quite unsuitable, which must have been right in keeping with the otherwise thrilling adventurousness of her personality. Do wish I might remember what the name of the book was. I wish also I might remember how it ended. I'd hate to discover now that she went back home eventually and settled down to her previous life and adventured no more. Ha...I've just done a search and the book is called Love Among the Butterflies: The Travels and Adventures of a Victorian Lady, the dairies of Margaret Fountaine.
Now I do believe I have quite exhausted that subject for the moment.
Human relationships are so odd, are they not? I am sure I'm not the only person who fell in love only to discover that I'd fallen in love with the idea of love more than the person with whom I was sharing a life. Or to wake up astonished daily (yes that wonderful sense of awe comes in again) that I could be married to such a dear wonderful man and that twenty years together could pass like a wink of the eye.
But all that aside, this particular relationship is one of those complicated, painful, forever sort of family relationships and I must say that it's been the source of endless struggle. It was, to be sure, far more bearable when Granny was alive and the children were all at home. Without these buffers it's become harsh and difficult in a more calculated way than it ever was before. And so I found myself this evening questioning the reasoning behind the continuing saga. And that is what it came down to in the end. I am lonely. I miss Granny. I miss my children. I miss a person to person sort of relationship in my life especially when John is working. I don't suppose I'll ever end this problematic relationship entirely. It has taken a deal of contemplation over a lifetime and I reckon I won't unravel it tonight. But I did find the revelation that I'm lonely of some import.
I am not completely friendless. I have a new-ish sort of friend, I daresay I might call her friend, and yet I'm a little unsure. She's reserved and honest and quite likable and I think she feels the same about me, but by her own reckoning she has more acquaintances than friends. Friends are people whom she has known lo these many many years and I barely know her if that is her standard gauge. There are any number of acquaintances who are delighted to see me in the grocery or post office or any public place, but I find that busyness prevents a closer acquaintance that might develop into friendship.
Then there is a dear dear friend, friend enough that we've even had a spat or two and continue on anyway, but I've never met her once. We've had nothing in the world to base our friendship upon save the written word. I find most all friendships are based upon a sort of attraction, in a non-sexual way, to another, because you admire a quality or characteristic or personal style statement you SEE in a person. Yet Roni and I have never laid an eye upon one another in naught but a photo and that not until we'd known each other a few years. But she is friend of the first order to be sure. It is to her I write (and now and then call) when the world has crashed in upon my life. I write first thing most every morning of the usual routine daily doings of a homemaker and mother and wife and grandmother and she does the same to me. I think we've been good for each other and we've each tried to take our responsibility to this relationship seriously and been wise and kind and chastising and silly in turn as was needed.
And there have been seasonal friends, people who come into my life for a measure of time, whom I love and whose love I feel but who pass on to another season with someone new...There are no regrets when it's all said and done but it's done...
There are a few cyber friends I count dear, met through a group of like-minded women and for some reason we 'click' more than we do with others. Well here I must count Rhonda, and a few others who read and write and share with me via group or blogs. And some much admired women such as Tracey and Manuela and Dee who come to visit my blog and I go and visit theirs.
So lonely I may be, but I am not always alone. Which does bring us back to space, because were it not for the wonderful invention of satellites I never should have met these strong women who are sisters of a communal cyber hearth. That's kind of awesome, too, you know?
Which brings me around to the wonder of telecommunications as a whole. I am able, through the grace and wonder of modern inventions to talk to my children in a moment's time and pay very little for it regardless of how long we might chat, be it through email, cell phones, etc. For which I am eternally grateful because cyber communications have allowed me to take as much time as needed to soothe, reassure, enjoy and encourage my children. All of which long distance costs once hindered mightily. In fact, John and I recently chuckled mightily over an old Bell phone ad in one of my vintage magazines that touted one might call from New Jersey to California on a grandchild's birthday and pay ONLY $2.45 for 3 minutes which was a pretty high rate in the 1920's. I felt a far greater understanding of my grandmother's dislike for talking more than 3 minutes when I called her all those years ago.
And it's lovely, these telecommunications and cyber space and all that...Because now and then I need someone front and center to spill my heart out to...And that my sweet friends, is sadly lacking in this busy world of ours. So, tag, you're it, the one I just spent the evening rambling away at.
We have a saying here in our house that fits my feelings precisely. "Love ya. Mean it."