The wind came in today to call an old friend out to play. It reached for the wings that time had stilled and recalled with a trembling caress the summer days of light and clover in meadows far away.
I am a collector of things. I say things because although I think they have value, I’m sure most people would disagree with me. My collection spans years and has been tucked into the various nooks and crannies that make up my household. There are several themes that run through my menagerie but each item must meet one basic criteria…in my eyes the item in question must be beautiful beyond question. Often my treasures are discovered in out-of-the-way places. If I care enough to carry something a mile or two to get it home it HAS to be beautiful. I am aware that beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. If a thief was to break into my home I’m sure he’d bypass these particular trifles, as they aren’t jewel encrusted or Pentium powered.
There are people who know my taste and like to keep an eye out for items to add to my collection. All contributions that meet the strict criteria are gladly accepted. The frailest of mementos have found a place on the windowsill and adjacent shelf in my workroom. The most prominent items at this time include the skull of a unidentified animal, two cicada husks, the teeth of a small rodent, a bird’s nest, a crab claw from Massachusetts, several fossils encased in rock and the remains of a large monarch butterfly. The condition of the butterfly makes it a rare gift, as it isn’t often that one would find such a specimen outside of a conservatory or museum. Found totally intact, not a scale or an antennae missing, it made the journey here reverently wrapped in tissue and encased in a lunchbox for safekeeping.
It was found in a large industrial factory. This isn’t as strange as you might think. Many animals live in factories. Birds, raccoons and squirrels are just a few. Many different types of insects hitch rides and travel thousands of miles from their homes to arrive in our northern climes (black widows up from Mexico are some of the nastier surprises that might be found). The butterfly may have been one of thousands that journeyed south on the annual monarch migration. It may have lingered too long or traveled the distance only to find itself transported back to these northern lands. Either way the journey, as it once knew it, is over. No tropical oasis will warm its last days nor cold northern roadside mark its passing.
Beautiful orange and black scaled wings, as colourful and delicate as the day they first emerged from the cocoon, reflect the sun as they tremble in the gentle autumn breeze that trickles in the window. The room is filled with the smell of earth, grass and leaves. Just for a moment the butterfly is reborn as the moving air breathes an illusion of life. The prismed wings rise as if to answer the silent call. Light and air dances round the room and like the hand of God stirs the spirit trapped within and carries it away.
I am, as I have said, a collector of things, things that most people would hold in little to no regard. To me these are items of mystery and of wonder and a beauty that is almost too terrible to bear.