There is much one can learn in 34 days. Not all of them easy lessons. Or pleasant. But they’re unavoidable nonetheless and, in the end, illuminating. Life changing. Even when you’d rather be in the dark, blankets pulled tight around your head to muffle all sensation.
The first thing we saw when we got to the beach was a blue and black butterfly the size of an adult’s palm sitting on the ball of an Allium. Open, close. Open, close. Open, close. Each wing flutter a legato timed to match a silent beat, at least to my ears. I don’t think butterflies have ears but, if they did, they’re tiny. All the better to hear small sounds.
I scrambled to get my camera, a juggling act of books and bags and blankets. Three slow, silent steps. Then two more. A struggle to focus, and then a delayed shutter. Blasted camera! And whether heralded by a friend or annoyed by our presence, the butterfly took off to live on in memory, but not on film. He wins.
Sigh. Curse. Moan. Stamp. Another juggling act of books and bags and blankets as I tried to return my camera to its home until a voice, my Mikey, points out the obvious. “You should still take a picture, mom. The flower is still beautiful.”
And so I did, grateful for the opportunity to learn lessons from teachers whose lives have ended as well as those whose lives are just beginning.