I scramble every spring to clean up winter and get fresh plants and seeds in the ground in a few late, dry weekends. It always has a just-under-the-wire frenzied feel. This year, due to our early March stay-at-home orders, my early season garden routine was far more leisurely and exhaustive than it’s ever been.
I was in the yard most days, sometimes all day, from mid-March to early June. The physicality of weeding, the accompaniment of birdsong, the warmth of the sun and the blessed, blessed solitude (no one else in my family really cares for yard work) were my daily therapy, my temple and my saving grace.
So it would be natural to assume that once the seasons shifted from spring to summer I’d have been out every day, camera in hand, photographing the butterflies whom I work every year to entice to my little patch. But, no. Not this year.
As the days grew warmer and longer, I noted my visitors’ arrival through window panes, but I didn’t feel that internal pull to get outside and be with them, nor did I feel capable of pushing myself to do anything unnecessary that I didn’t really want to do.
Admiring butterflies at a distance was sufficient. In fact, I’m doing it right now . . . that flicker in my peripheral?
cabbage white – eastern tiger swallowtail – monarch – skipper – – – – -skipper – – – – – skipper
Maybe I just don’t want to hold onto this time.
there’s another . . . monarch
Or maybe it’s a side effect of the meditation I’ve been practicing to help me navigate every fresh stress. Whatever. But observing, and admiring butterflies at a distance, through a glass has been enough for me.
back again eastern tiger swallowtail . . .
cabbage whites, mating dance
And then last week something slammed me sideways. At a loss for so much as a shred of the equanimity I try hard to maintain, I just didn’t know where to put myself or what to do with myself. Sitting still was impossible, reading was impossible. Honestly, everything seemed impossible.
Swallowtail floats – cabbage white spirals – skipper flits
Something deep in me whispered, “camera, garden – now,” and I heeded it.
For a little while, or a long while, I can’t say for sure, I didn’t think about anything. I surrendered my brain to my eyes, and my eyes through a camera lens to my wonder – to the butterflies. I was at it again the next day.
Whatever your wonder, when it calls to you, I think it’s wise to give it your undivided attention.
Wishing you wonder, friends. Especially now.