(A couple of days before the Friendship of Salem, and close behind it on my Top 3 list)
Remember Gail? I told you about her when I wrote about the Tellabration. (You don't? My my, someone skipped entries from earlier... never mind, you can still go back and read;) She was so kind to invite me over for Christmas break! The next couple of entries will be mainly about our adventures together, and the stories we shared... (don't worry, I'm not writing anything personal, I promised in one of my first posts...) (go back and read again ;)
This one is about my birthday gift from her and her husband Steve.
(Yeah, I am one of those "Happy New Year! Oh, and happy birthday, by the way" babies...;)
They didn't really tell me where we were going, and I didn't really ask; I was happy sitting in the car, watching the road and the woods and the towns and everything I could see through the window. We were talking, about stories and storytellers, and places we visited or wanted to visit, and New England in general.
When we stopped I still did not know where we were; we got out of the car, and that was when I saw the sign: Magic Wings, Butterfly Conservatory. And I was close to squeaking again.
(Check the top left corner)
If I have any kind of spirit animal, animal symbol, nature soul or whatever, I am 100% sure it's the butterfly. It's about the colors, the changing, the moving, the flying (even the whirlwind, which must be a close relative of mine...) and all kinds of things that are just... me. Plus that huge butterfly story and legend collection I have. I just admire them. (I'd write "I just sooo love them, they are so cuuuute..." but that just feels plain wrong XD Hello Kitty mode off.)
At first I didn't even know what a butterfly conservatory is. I was more than happy to discover that inside it was a huge garden, open to people, full of plants and flowers and live butterflies (I can't stand the ones stabbed to death and behind glass). Now that I think of it I think I was actually jumping up and down, and laughing.
The whole place is like a fairy garden. You walk in, and before you realize what's happening, something orange and light as a flower petal flutters in front of your nose and then flies away; and then what seemed to be a quiet garden at first sight starts moving, and in mere seconds fills up with butterflies of all color and shape. They were all over the place, sipping nectar, and resting on the plants. First you only see the small ones, with transparent wings, or black and blue patterns, and the orange ones that just loved my orange purse (I bet they thought it was a kick-ass big guy), then from the corner of your eye you catch something huge and blue and lazy, like a tipsy big flower, flying around your knees, and your jaw drops in awe (they were so shy, those blue ones. The instant they landed, they closed up, and gave us the ugly brownish back of their wings. They just didn't like being photographed.) I was wandering around, taking pictures, whispering "aaah" and "oooh" and "wooow", bumping into other people in the process (who were fortunately doing the same) (except for the kids, who were running around... well, chasing butterflies) (even though they had strict rules against molesting the butterflies, some of them looked somewhat... exhausted). I couldn't sit still long enough for them to settle on me (one sat on my head though, for a few seconds). I tried, I really tried, but there was too much to see, so after all it was Steve and not me who managed to attract a big blue one. It sat on his leg, and closed up, then shrugged (well, I didn't really see it shrug, but I'm sure it did) (eternal love to Mr. Kipling for The Butterfly that Stomped) and opened up, and it was shiny bright blue, and a little bit tired, and I took lots of pictures before it flew away.
There is a Native American tale about The Butterfly Man; he is red and black and huge and has wings like velvet, and he lures you away from you family, and you have to hold onto his belt as he leads you to his home; and he leads you across a valley, full of other butterflies, all colors and shapes, and if you raise your head and look around, and let go of him to catch another one, you are lost forever, chasing butterflies in the valley till you drop.
(Okay, let's do justice to the tale: it's called Tolowim-Woman and the Butterfly Man, and read the original one in the book called The Inland Whale by Theodora Kroebel, because it's amazing and beautiful.)