An Emergence of Butterflies – St. Patrick’s Butterfly


Today I had the feeling Mom was with me.  She said, “Let’s go to the antique mall, and find St. Patrick’s butterfly.”  I said, “Ok!”  My friend Maryanna was at the mall when I got there.  When she saw me, she laughed.  “Are you following me?” she joked. But really it was just a wonderful coincidence.  I said, “I’m here looking for St. Patrick’s butterfly for Mom.”  Maryanna’s eyes twinkled.  “You better get going then!” she said.

When an intuition strikes so clearly, you can trust something will turn up.  Mom’s presence stayed with me, shining a light on charming things that tickled her sense of whimsy.  It didn’t take long to find butterfly doilies, just the right shades of green.  Maryanna gave me the leprechauns and shamrock girls.  The Madonna Indulgence  came from Aunt Patty’s house, and I think it was Grandma’s.  Just crochet and paper, but to me, it is wonderful.

We never collaborated when Mom was alive.  Her dominating presence made it too hard to share the spotlight.  Today, though, it seemed Mom wanted us to create St. Patrick’s butterfly together.   For once I felt playful and carefree as I began to work, instead of burdened by my usual anxiety.  I listened inwardly, patiently, keeping an open mind.  Mom’s curious nature guided my hands and camera.   A mandala and a garden evolved from the dialogue between my heart and Mom.  Before I knew it the window where I work was dark.  It was time to come in for supper.

Thank you for the fun time, Mamma!  I hope we can do it again!  Love, your Four Leaf Clover Butterfly


An Emergence of Butterflies – Unintended Butterflies 2


Fortunately, the story of the Unintended Butterfly has a happy ending.  The butterfly and the flower found each other, and together they revealed the gift in the everyday all around us.  Happily ever after, the end.

(But not the end of butterflies – more butterflies on Monday…or even Sunday!)

An Emergence of Butterflies – Unintended Butterflies 1

butterfly index

I’m trying out this idea:  see a picture, take a picture.  Of course, this idea occurred to me at a very inconvenient time, when just any old picture won’t do.  For 29 butterflies, I need butterfly pictures.  And you know how that goes, when you have something specific in mind.  As Old Lodge Skins said, “Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t.”  Eventually, though, there might be a third option – sometimes the magic works, but you don’t know it.

Things often start out where you least intend, and wind up where you didn’t imagine.  No matter how often I have this experience, its funny how I always think I know where events are headed.  You can’t take a picture by filling in the lines.  I mean you can, but its best if you discover the lines while you are taking the picture.  Ok, maybe it isn’t best.  But it is more fun!  Come back tomorrow to see the conclusion of this unintended butterfly…

An Emergence of Butterflies – Shades of Butterfly

butterfly shades

I have been thinking about Mom while doing 29 Butterflies, 2013, even though the images aren’t explicitly about her.  It is both harder and easier than the first year after she died.  By now, I am accustomed to not hearing her voice anymore, but the longer I live without seeing her, the more I recognize that I am still waiting for her to come back.  Lately, I have been feeling so deeply what her loneliness must have been like – how much I think it surprised her to find herself lacking company.  And of course, it hurts me now to think how what I have learned from dealing with my grief would have balanced and softened our relationship, and thus given her comfort.

So I keep working on these butterflies – hoping, hoping, hoping, that she can still hear me.

An Emergence of Butterflies – Butterflies Relic


Sometimes butterflies from long ago get forgotten between pages of lace and light and notebook paper, and then one day you find them in the window, right where you left them.

Emergence of Butterflies – Butterfly Nowhere

window butterfly stack

The paper in the window made the butterfly look like part of a postcard showing the parking lot of a mall or motel.  I think I liked these images for that reason.  My pictures are often feel like postcards, coming from somewhere previously unseen by me, even if elements of them are very familiar.  Sometimes I worry that I am making the same picture over and over again.  That’s how it is to make something.  You have to do it with what is in front of you – where else would you find the components?  And any good story is worth telling twice.

An Emergence of Butterflies – Third Eye Butterfly


This little butterfly was so tired when she got home from work that she couldn’t remember any stories to tell.  She  just settled into my hand and fell asleep.  The End.

An Emergence of Butterflies – Butterflies Between the Lines

butterfly lines

These butterflies covered a page in my enchanted notebook, lined with glimpses of shadow and light.  Can you read what  the butterflies are saying, between the lines?

An Emergence of Butterflies – Butterfly Blossom


Gaze into this crystal ball, and the deepest wish of your heart – to be happy and joyful – gathers form and becomes real.  It gave me a butterfly blossom.  What will reveal your heart’s wish to you?

An Emergence of Butterflies – Butterfly Reader


The rustle of butterflies, the flutter of pages…is there any difference?  Words and wings, all captured in the net of memory, wafting great distances of the slightest puff of a breeze.

As you read, does a tiny butterfly rise up, freed from its slumber by your imagination?  Or is it your imagination that slumbers, not quite ready to emerge?

If you whisper to the butterfly, something is sure to begin….