THROUGH THE WOODS: A special moment

SATURDAY WAS THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY of 9/11. I decided not to watch any of the TV specials because it was too sad. On that awful day I got a call from a friend who could barely speak and kept repeating “Turn on the TV.” I did in time to see the 2nd jet hit the Twin Towers. It was obvious this was not an accidental hit. The horror went on and we cried and prayed for days in helplessness and loss of hope for the expected mass of survivors who didn’t make it.

I wanted to rush out and give blood and it wasn’t needed. Cars and pickup trucks rode around with American Flags waving. It was inconceivable and incomprehensible that such a thing could happen. That day I went to a friend’s birthday party and we all just numbly sat around and picked at some food. At least we were together, which was comforting.

Painted lady butterfly. Photo by Nancy Jane Kern

I had been in the brand-new Twin Towers for a medical lab hearing with Senator Jacob Javits and now a wonder of the world was gone. Last Saturday I decided to give in for a while and watched TV. It was a good decision to join in the remembering and honoring of the heroes of the day.

I needed some cheering up so took a cup of coffee out on the porch to listen to the birds and look at the flowers. I sat down in a patch of sun and an orange and black butterfly landed on my nose, one smaller than a Monarch butterfly. It did not leave, and I sat very still. My sadness left and I felt blessed. Nature went about its business despite man’s craziness and pain.

The explanation of the butterfly’s behavior was that it was sampling the salt and minerals on my skin, something I disregarded in the moment. It was so peaceful and seemed such a kind gesture. I had my camera next to me and eventually I noticed a similar butterfly on flowers over the porch railing. A few clicks captured it perched on a small sunflower my niece had planted for me. The butterfly was a “painted lady,” one I had never seen in the yard. The lines and colors give it its name. The upper surface of the wings has a pattern of mostly orange, some black lines and spots and some white near the front. The underwings are shown when they are held together, as in the photo. There are swirls of fine lines, eye spots, pink, tans, and pure gorgeousness. Nature heals my spirit.

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