Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Butterfly Gathering

I am not quite sure what it is about butterflies that make us smile and lift our spirits. After my uncle passed away in 2000 he has decided to let his presence be felt through random (or as I believe, not so random) butterfly visits. The first occurred during our first beach visit to Wildwood, NJ where our family vacationed every summer with my aunt, uncle and our cousins. We all still were feeling the sadness and loss of this vibrant personality and kidder. We were talking in our group of women as our kids and husbands relaxed or played with the kids on the beach. We all said how "muzzy" (his knickname) was definitely missed. As his daughter-in-law was video taping the kids, they laughed at how this butterfly mistook my brightly flowered bathing suit for the real deal and landed on my butt. Was this a coincidence or just like him to show up on que? Well, my uncle in the day was quite the practical joker and this butterfly shared the same spirit landing from butt to butt. We laughed and joked that Muzzy was with us afterall...just like him to not want to miss out on the trip. Even stranger, and if you have ever been to the Jersey Shore you can appreciate this. The butterfly left our chat fest and went up to our umbrella, circled around then flew off. Mind you, there were probably over 200 umbrellas to choose from and ours was navy, white and quite sun bleached...definitely not the brightest of the bunch!

Over the months and years I would get visits from Monarch butterflies in my garden. I would silently talk to my uncle and tell him how much he was missed. Sometimes he would visit my front garden or fly by me on my walks and bring along a buddy, which I believe was my grandpop Joe, who died just two months before my uncle. He even showed his approval for the home we picked here in Florida by mysteriously appearing inside the covered lanai as Dan, the girls and I contemplated our choices. It just happened to also be near his birthday.

The most remarkable encounter was one year on Father's Day. A monarch was trapped inside our screened enclosure and was sitting awkwardly on the tile surround of our pool. I got a stick and tried to transfer it outside the enclosure. My daughter Ashley was helping me with the door. She watched in disbelief as the buttterfly flew like a parrot and landed on my shoulder, where it sat for a long time as I walked into the back yard. We took pictures of it and it lingered for the longest time. I went to move it and it sat gently on my hand until I placed it on top of a plant in our garden. You see, my uncle was even more special in my life, he was also my godfather so it made total sense that this Father’s Day would be one of our last encounters.

As my aunt, his widow, battles the horrible side effect of chemo and a seemingly losing battle with cancer, I wonder if there will be a new butterfly gathering and if it will be their special way of letting me know, “hey, you are not forgotten either!”

The horizontal folded card sample above was created with my Hip and Happy set using Glue Arts adhesives. I printed out the graphics, hand colored and layered the flowers and brads to create this hybrid sample. It is a get well card that I will be sending to my aunt today to let her know how much she is loved. She knows the specialness of butterflies as I have shared the stories of Uncle Muz’ “visits” with her. Soon it may be her time to join the butterfly dance.