"I'd Rather be Chasing Butterflies"

shiloh-monarchDo you remember how much fun we used to have chasing butterflies when we were kids? We’d follow them around the yard reaching and grabbing at them, but they were so elusive and always managed to dodge our attempts and stay just out of our reach. Sometimes they would stop and let us get so, close then just as you about to touch them the would fly away. Every now and then one might actually land on your hand if you held it still enough! Now that was a thrill!  It’s amazing that such a simple activity could bring us so many hours of joy and laughter. Well last weekend while driving through a quiet neighborhood not far from my home I got to relive that memory for a few precious moments. For just a little while I was five again and loved it.

I had just pulled up to a four way stop and since there was no one else on the road I took a moment to fiddle with my radio. As I was doing so I chanced to see a young girl playing in the front yard of the corner house across the street. She looked to be about 5 years old, the same age as my grandkids Janessa and Joshua. She was running around the white picket fenced, yard waving her arms and laughing, and appeared to be having the time of her life. At first I thought she was chasing or being chased by her dog but as I continued to watch I suddenly realized what she was really doing, she was chasing butterflies.

I gotta tell you it was quite a nostalgic moment. I could feel a smile forming on my face. I quickly turned the radio down and cracked the passenger window a bit to check if I might be able to hear her. Sure enough I immediately heard the sound of her shouts and laughter. I could see the butterfly fluttering about, nearly landing then taking off again and her right behind, trying to catch it. But of course it managed to stay just out of her reach. It actually looked as though the butterfly was playing with her. I think it might have been. It brought back such fond memories of my youth and I began to wonder how many butterflies I must have chased in my childhood.

It was then that I realized that the shouts I was hearing were not meant for the butterfly at all, but for a women sitting on the steps of the porch. Funny that I hadn’t noticed her before but then the young butterfly chaser had captured my complete attention. She called to the woman several times. “Grammy grammy, look at the butterfly! It’s so pretty!  Help me catch it grammy! Help me!”  Grandma sat there smiling, clapping her hands as the youngster ran near her. You could tell she was enjoying her granddaughter’s play but I have a pretty good idea that she was having a nostalgic moment like my own, an emotional Boomer flashback unrelated to drugs. A golden oldie.

I then glanced at the rear view mirror expecting to see a car or two behind me and was pleased to see that the road was still empty, but then these particular streets were usually pretty quiet. “Come on grammy help me. Please before he flies away.” I looked back at the young girl just in time to see her pulling at her grammy’s arm trying to get her to stand up. Grammy was laughing and holding back when all at once she stood and allowed herself to be pulled along by the girl towards the bushes where the butterfly was still fluttering around. A moment later the butterfly flew and dipped towards them then away again and the little girl, screaming in delight, began to chase it all over again. Grammy stood there a moment smiling then suddenly began waving her arms as she too gave chase.

The two of them were having a ball! You don’t know how much I wanted to park my car and go over and join the butterfly chase! But reason prevailed and I decided that it would be best if I simply continued to enjoy the chase from a distance. I mean how would it look if a 63 year old man suddenly jumped out of his car and raced towards them with his arms flailing. They’d probably scream in fright and call the police. No, that wouldn’t be good. But if I were a kid it wouldn’t have mattered, a little kid could have gone over and joined them and been welcomed. I wanted to do what grammy was doing, what I had done so often as a kid. I made a mental note to join my grandkids in the backyard one day soon and chase butterflies with them.

I’m not sure how long I sat there watching the two of them, it couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. Unfortunately a sharp horn blast brought me out of my reverie and I pulled slowly away from the stop. As I passed the corner house I glanced one last time at the butterfly chasers and went on  my way. It had been a very cool experience. It’s good to be reminded of the simple things in life that God in His goodness has provided for us, the simple things that bring a smile to our faces and warmth to our hearts. The simple things that we often outgrow and eventually forget. Watching the butterfly chasers was just such a reminder. Just because we have grown older doesn’t mean we should stop experiencing that child like joy and excitement. Youth may be for the young but youthful joy is for everyone.  Too often we forget…

As I was driving away I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw that the car that had pulled up behind me was still sitting at the stop sign. Perhaps she was looking at her GPS or checking her cell phone messages but I have a sneaky suspicion that the driver of that vehicle was no longer really there behind the wheel. I believe she was off somewhere in time, chasing butterflies…

Just Saying…

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