12 April, 2009


There has been so much happening the past 10 days that I have had little time to do the things that bring me peace of mind, comfort and joy. Quite often life--especially in my line of work--can throw one curves and detours that re-route us even from the best of intentions.

And with that awareness bumping up against my body telling me we have overdood it, I took charge and began to reinstate a few of the things that keep me sane. Writing is very high on that list so I am making a concerted effort to get back to this blog and my newsletter. Walking is one of the other avenues that support me.

Therefore, I am going to write about the walk I just took.

Another full day at work with a lot of tasks, projects and people vying for attention, I made it clear to Susan, our office administrator here at the church that I needed to take a walk and it would also be a good time for us to connect. Fortunately, the time came where we had to go or else she would need to leave and I would be left to fend for myself.

It is a glorious spring day here in Chico. The need for long-sleeves in the office quickly changed once we stepped outside. A slight wind but definitely in the high 70s. As we began our power-walk, I noticed what I thought was a butterfly on the street. I stopped to peer down to see and yes, there was a medium-sized butterfly sitting on the ground with his or her wings upright. (How does one identify the gender of a butterfly?) It was not moving yet it was upright. Hmmm.
I leaned down to see if it was resting or unable to fly. I positioned by cap over the butterfly to keep the wind from blowing it to hop on or at least find respite from the wind.

Then I squatted down and put my finger out and within seconds, he/she hopped on my finger.
I felt so privileged but uncertain as to what I was to do next. The butterfly did not move as I rose up and began to walk. There was still no wing activity happening so I did not know about the flying skills. What I did know is that I was glad to get her/him out of the street where it could have been squished. We continued to walk and although I kept the cap over him/her to allow for protection, I knew I was turning on to the major street and did not want to lose my guest in a gust of wind out into traffic. We walked over to a tree to see if the little visitor would hop off onto a branch.

This extraordinary being was completely content to be with me. I felt its trust and enjoyment. Although, it is light in nature, I did not take it lightly that I was being allowed to have such an intimate exchange.

Once we got into the shade of the tree, I called Susan over to view the amazing delicacy of this creature. I mentioned that I could almost see inside to the wings as having more texture and color and Butterfly must have heard me. Within seconds, Butterfly opened her wings as far as she/he could and let us ogle and admire her beauty. She/he did not seem to want to leave my finger for the branch or the leaf and truth be told, I didn't either. Yet, I knew that it was unrealistic to think I could take Butterfly with me all the way around the lake and back to the church.

I walked over to some mechanical contraption next to the tree and took Butterfly to the top of the iron wheel. Neither of us moved for a few moments. Then I mentally held a picture of his/her hopping off my finger to help guide him/her. Sure enough, Butterfly gently changed locations. I told him/her that I would come back after our walk to see if further assistance might be needed.

My feelings were a mixture of sadness and surrender. If I had been alone, I would have taken the time to walk to a shady spot and sit in contemplation with my new friend. I knew that at some point, we would have to part anyway so I chose to honor my agreement with both Susan and myself to continue on with our walk together.

When we returned to the church, I walked over to the place where I left Butterfly but she/he was nowhere to be found. I waited for a few moments just in case but went on my way. When a butterfly soon flew overhead, it did cross my mind as to whether or not that was my Butterfly; but I knew that I would have no way to confirm that.

There is no doubt in my mind that there was a deeper meaning to this close encounter. I don't feel a need to have to analyze it -- I am content to just be aware and appreciative.

As I am appreciative of two other very different butterflies:
Adam Lambert and Susan Boyle.

Adam Lambert is not what one would think of as a butterfly of any sort. However, it some ways he his transforming before our very eyes. This extraordinarily talented young man has been singing and performing for years. He is even from tinsel-town and had yet to 'make it' big as a rock-star until getting a chance to shine on American Idol. Yet, now, he is shedding a cocoon of anonymity and becoming quite the monarch on the show. Pundits and fans everywhere are agreeing that this guy is the real deal--a top notch performer with amazing vocal range and charisma. I agree. And no doubt that even if he should somehow be voted off Idol his career is guaranteed.

But it is another musical butterfly that captured my heart this week.
Susan Boyle from a little unpronounceable town in Scotland.

A beloved but admittedly curmudgeon friend of mine sent me an e-mail with a slightly sarcastic lead line and a YouTube link. My curiosity was piqued so I took the time to watch a segment from the British predecessor to American Idol.

Unlike the three judges who had no idea what was about to unfold, I quickly surmised that the woman about to perform was more than likely going to be unique, talented or uniquely talented or this YouTube would not be the hottest link on the web.

Well, this unlikely and homely looking woman was about to knock all our socks off with not only her amazing vocal talent but with her innocent and authentic personality. I don't know which I enjoyed more--listening to her wow the audience and judges or watching the judges (in particular Simon Cowell) have their most authentic moments in response. Watching Simon be thrown for a loop is one thing but getting to see his heart open and see a genuine smile was worth a second and third viewing.

So, if you are not one of the 12 million viewers who have gone onto YouTube to view this seven minute clip, here is the URL to cut and paste:


This is definitely one butterfly worth watching.

City Slackers

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