In Which My Big Sister Says Hello
My husband left on Monday for a backpacking trip to the Hammersley Wild Area. It is one of the wildest places in Pennsylvania, as it is the largest roadless tract in our state. It is also the toughest backpack I know of. But I had work meetings on Tuesday, so I couldn't go along this time.
When my husband is away, one of my treats is to choose some sort of chick flick to watch without him. A film he might not typically care about, but that I adore. This time it was Shakespeare in Love, and I enjoyed it immensely.
But there was a little time left in the evening after that was over, and so I put in a favorite DVD, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, live in New York City. The concert was filmed in the summer of 2000, and my husband and my brother and my brother's wife had seen Bruce & Crew in February of that year for the first time ever. It was so awesome, I don't have words.
But when they played Atlantic City, I found myself weeping for my oldest sister, Barb - the Butterfly Girl - who died last summer. You see, at this point in the year, we would be making Big Plans. Her birthday was in June and every year we planned a summer beach trip to Atlantic City, where we always had a marvelous time.
This past Sunday was Mother's Day, and I didn't get to see my mom because of the whole coronavirus isolation thing. I do not think it is safe yet for me to go there. Not fear for myself, but for them; that I would be the one to take some horrible virus along that would harm them, maybe end their lives.
Mother's Day of last year was the last time I saw my dear sister Barb alive. So it was a painful anniversary. On Sunday morning, I called up my mom to wish her Happy Mother's Day. I told her, "Wherever she is right now, Barb is watching over you and loving you and wishing you a Happy Mother's Day." Then I hung up the phone and cried. So it's been an emotional time.
On Tuesday, at lunchtime, I decided to take a break from work and walk up to our local gameland. The water is high in all the ponds. I saw frisky newts everywhere. The lady's slippers are looking very stunted, from the past few days' cold nights. And I spotted my first big butterfly, a tiger swallowtail which you may see above. "Hello, sister," I said. For I knew it was my sister who heard my tears, and sent that gorgeous butterfly to make me smile.
As it turns out, with my husband gone, I was also in charge of feeding the birds. I gave them their lunch and then took some photos. The Carolina wren was especially active, coming back again and again, likely with a nest nearby. The photo in the extras represents the moment when I realized there were TWO little birds, not just one!
My soundtrack song is for the butterfly above, and for my sister, whom I miss some days so bad that it feels like there's a great big hole inside of me that will never, ever heal. But I know that someday we will be together again. You'll know her when you get there. She'll be the barefoot girl standing right next to Jesus, and she'll be surrounded by butterflies.
The song: Libby Allen, Hello from Heaven.