Life Is Sweet / Small Favors / Mourning Cloak
My husband and I decided it was time for a swim, and so we headed over to Whipple Dam, which is about 20 miles from our home. There is a barbecue joint nearby called Doan's Bones, and I (who am always hungry) was thinking about nabbing a tasty half-rack of baby back ribs to bring along home after our swim.
We parked the car mid-way in at Whipple Dam, and walked the rest of the way. We both had our daysacks and chairs and swim bags, and it was a comfortable day, temperature-wise. I looked for fritillaries on the milkweed but found none.
We have not had much rain in the past few weeks, and it's starting to show. The water is a bit lower than before, a bit muddier, and a bit warmer than it was earlier in summer. But we had a lovely swim, and as always, I watched the patterns of light and color on the waters with great gusto, wishing for my camera during it all.
There were some little kids playing with their floaties, and the one floaty escaped, and it was making its getaway. I saw the little girl's eyes, as it picked up speed, somehow - she realized she couldn't catch it before it reached the ropes and made off into open seas. I stepped in front of it and pushed it back to her, and I saw the look of gratitude in her eyes.
Her little brother was right behind her, and I heard him say, petulantly, "I could have caught it, I COULD HAVE!" (But he couldn't have. Adult here: I worked out the math, and the angles, and the speed.) And the little girl, a big sister, turned to her brother and said, nodding to me, "But SHE saved it for you, out of kindness." Small favors.
We walked back over to a picnic area where we often park, and that's where we sat a while after our swim. A beautiful mourning cloak butterfly, Nymphalis antiopa, showed up, and it walked all around this particular spot in the tree. Look how gorgeous those little bits of blue are, lined by white. Hello, Barb!
Blue was my big sister's color, butterflies were her creatures, and summer was her time. We were the summertime girls. I miss her almost unbearably in the months of June and July, which are filled with missed milestones that feel like great big speed-bumps:
Her birthday (June 5), our beach trips (later June), the family reunion and the walk to the falls (July 10), Arts Fest (July 14-17, this year), and finally, her passing, in late July (July 20), on the hottest day of the year. In the midst of my summer sorrows, it is so lovely that she sent me this butterfly.
Upon looking more closely (and taking tons of pictures, as the butterfly strutted and marched and sipped), I noted that there was a sticky substance coming out of the tree at that spot. The butterfly was joined by several daddy long-legs, a fly, and a small bee. Sip sip sip. Good stuff there, to be sure!
Then we left for home, and we did stop at Doan's Bones, and I bought the baby back ribs, and I stuffed them into a cooler in the car before I could eat them all up, and they did make it home, where we devoured them together, along with a baked potato with butter and cheese and sour cream, and garlic toast. (How's THAT for a run-on meat sentence?)
My husband says, the wife's not happy until she has barbecue sauce ALL the way up to her armpits (thus the term: pit barbecue). And that's pretty accurate. Finished it up, finger-licking good, had to head to the showers for him to hose me down, as I was wearing WAYYYYY too much rib sauce! No, I would not let him take a picture of me as such a saucy girl. Wouldn't you rather look at a butterfly?
My soundtrack song is this one: Natalie Merchant, with Life Is Sweet. Life has its big and little moments. Live them all. Live the happy ones, and rejoice to have them. Live the sad ones, too, and hold on. For there are sweet moments too, for joy walks side by side with sorrow. Be brave. Do not hide or flinch.Taste it all. . . .
I tell you life is sweet
In spite of the misery
There's so much more
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