The Kiss of the Butterfly

A Butterfly from Another Day
A Butterfly from Another Day

Each year, on the first unseasonably warm day, I await the woodland butterfly. Today is a a particularly auspicious day. Not only is it the first day this spring that feels almost like summer, it’s 4-14-14 and the eve of the first lunar eclipse of the year, the Blood Moon. The air is charged with energy. The fog that held the morning in close embrace has lifted and the wind has taken reign of the air, howling it through the leafless trees and tugging at the clouds that keep threatening to block the sun. Oh, I do hope it wins its battle so we may view the Blood Moon tonight!

I am decidedly ungrounded today. There’s little to be done about it really. On days like this, I give into the forces. I love the feeling of magic, so I can’t say I was surprised, but rather delighted, when I saw my first butterfly of the year. The same species, the color of turned earth, that visits me each year on the first gloriously warm day.

It started as a passing thought, “I wonder if I’ll see a butterfly today,” as I made my way with the dogs into the forest. Then there was the man stumbling through the trees looking for a neighbor’s stolen bird feeder, bringing me back to the present. I knew the culprit before I asked. Bear. I told him I’d keep my eyes open for it, and ventured along the path with eyes alert.

The dogs and I didn’t walk far, just past the open field, slightly down the trail marked “Journey,” stopping at the vernal pond alive with the chorus of mating frogs. Daisy, my wise dog/teacher, stopped as she always does when she wants me to pay attention to Nature. Really, she didn’t need to today, as I was quite taken by the song of rebirth filling the air.

We never found the missing bird feeder, but about 50 feet before the entrance/exit to the forest, we met the butterfly. “There you are!” I exclaimed with delight, as she lifted wings to the air and danced a pirouette around my head. I became her Earth-bound companion, my heart souring with her, following her dazzling choreography in a the energy of pure bliss. This, to me, is what magic is all about.

The danced lasted mere minutes, perhaps five. I must confess, there were a few futile attempts to photograph my muse, but that clearly was not a purpose of this visit. Instead, I took with me the energy of her kisses. Three times, before she flew into another realm, she alighted on the top of my head, and I felt, ever so briefly, the flutter of her energy. I left the forest with eyes moist and heart lifted in gratitude.

Until we meet again.

Bathing Leaves #houseplants #elementalspirits


This morning, as sat on the couch seeped in the sluggishness of a long winter. Longing for the quickened pulse of spring, I decided to tend to my houseplants. Let me state, for the record, that I love my plants, but I don’t always give them the care they need.

I started with the ficus. You should have seen it before I was finished, but you’ll just have to take my word for it. Each spring, I drag its heavy pot out to the deck to spend the warmer months of the year in unobstructed sunlight and rain. I do this with most of my plants, allowing them to feel the taste of the wild before the cold weather starts nibbling at their leaves. They tend to love it. I’m generally good about moving them around to the spots with the best ratio of shade to sunlight; the proper drink of rain. Except with my ficus.

Perhaps it’s because it weighs as much as a five-year-old child, or maybe its because it’s a tree and I have a subconscious need for it to lose its leaves like its deciduous relatives, because this is precisely what my ficus does. Each year, before I finally drag this unruly child back indoors, I wait for it to drop all of the gorgeous leaves it grew over the summer.

This year was particularly bad. Most people who looked at my pitifully tree denuded of greenery shook their heads over their dinner plates and declared it dead. “It’ll come back. Don’t worry,” I would tell them. And, by mid-winter it started budding to life again. Well, all but the top half.

Today out came the commercial-sized pruners. I wasn’t in the mood to give a trim. The top half of the tree disappeared, one bald branch at a time. Each time I sunk the teeth of the clippers into a half-dead limb I made a silent bargain with the tree, convincing myself that I was doing it a favor, and kept cutting.


While I dragged the felled branches outside to the compost pile, I began to feel lighter. The tree, trimmed to half its starting height, looked lighter too. Its full green canopy, centered in the dining room window, was catching the morning light. I put the fake bird’s nest that had previously been nestled in the center of the ficus, and placed it gently on the top of its much reduced peak. Then, I began to bathe its leaves, washing away the dust of winter with a moist cloth.

I moved onto the the other houseplants, trimming the curled brown strands on the spider plant, and snapping the yellowed leaves off the gardenia that had refused to flower since August. I ran my dust-cloth under the faucet again, and cupped the slender leaves of the orchids (also resisting bloom), and the mother-in-law’s tongue, rubbing their surfaces  until they shone. Six months of dirt left its mark on the white cotton, and I folded it over before I turned to the pothos, arrowhead, and schefflera.


Satisfied with the results, and feeling sure we were all breathing easier with our cleared airways, I thanked the elemental spirits and asked them to help me tend to our charges, in particular the one standing at a much reduced height in the dining room. I cleaned the residue of honeyed water from the basin of a shell, and filled it with cool almond milk before I placed it on the fireplace mantel – my offering for the house fey. Then, I took out the camera and snapped pictures of my handiwork. Cleaned leaves gleamed in vivid shades of green, except in the photographs where I also captured two fairy figurines. I took 5 photographs of the gold fairy on the mantel where I place my offerings to the fey spirits. Each image produced blurred results. Perhaps I had waited too long…

gold fairy


When I was in college at Bowdoin I took an anthropology class taught by a very bright and energetic professor. One day the professor told us a story about the artifacts that she had collected and displayed on a shelf in her house. They were from all over the world. Many were old, carrying the energies of countless hands. One day, as she stood in her room with them, all of the stone figures fell towards her, landing in a circle around her.

I was very much a skeptic in college, having yet to open myself up to awareness. Still, I secretly believed my professor. She was down-to-earth and incredibly bright. There was no indication that she was trying to pull the wool over our eyes, but rather take it off. If I had been taking the class now, I wouldn’t have batted an eye.

I spent this afternoon pondering the fairy figurine (see photo below) that is perched on a shelf beside the window I face when I type on my computer. I always face the figurine to the right, towards my etched glass of two dancing fairies. When I looked up from typing my emails earlier today it was facing left, 180 degrees, its outstretched arm beckoning towards an orchid. I was the only one home today (but just to double-check I asked my family later if they had moved it. No). I dusted the shelf yesterday, and as I always do, faced the fairy to the right. I knew someone was trying to tell me something.

Maybe I was supposed to water the plants and give them some fertilizer. So I put a few drops in the can and gave the houseplants, including the orchid, a drink.  I was just covering bases though, clearly the fairies were trying to communicate with me. Heck, even my dog knows they’ve been trying to get my attention for months.

I just had to figure out what it was. I started by asking Doreen Virtue’s deck of Healing with the Fairies cards and drew “Environmental Awareness.” Anyone who knows me would not be surprised. I guess it’s time to buckle up, listen and pay attention, which is what I did for the rest of the afternoon. Here’s to another leg of my journey! Stay tuned…