In this week which teased us between spring and a return to winter, I gloried in all-out spring for a couple hours on two different sunny days. I first went with a friend, then returned with my favorite photographer.
I basked in the energy of a massive climate-controlled butterfly garden – the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. This week I didn’t consult the guidebook to try to identify each butterfly that flew by – there were too many of them, and they were too energetic. This week I simply observed the warmth and beauty of the conservatory. In 30 years, I’ve never seen the plants looking so lush.
Not only did I revel in the butterflies and the abundant miniature finches, but also in the slider turtles lounging by the pond, draping themselves over the rocks in various configurations.
The butterfly conservatory always nourishes my soul. I love the loud splash of the waterfall. The usual squealing of children was tamed this week by the presence of 10 seniors in wheelchairs with their attendants. I was pleased to enjoy the colour and energy and warmth of the place with them.
I always leave the Conservatory calm and happy, pondering the transformation of new butterflies drying off their wings over by the emergence window. My calm spirit in the midst of all that energy always mystifies me
Questions for Reflection:
In weeks that tease you between spring and a return to winter, what places of “all out spring” does your spirit inhabit?
As winter turns to spring, what nourishes your soul?
How, if at all, do newly emerged butterflies connect for you with the Easter story?
During our cold, often grey January, my soul was restored through two kinds of noticing as I mulled over a significant decision. One kind of noticing was calm and consistent. The other kind was energetic and full of colour. Together these very different settings restored my soul.
First Setting: My Morning “Sit”
I reinstated my morning “sit” in January, looking over the golf course from my 10th floor windows as the light increased each morning around 7:00.
Of course I reveled in the snow and trees of the golf course. But last month, my eyes searched out the high yellow lights of the expressway in the far distance, delineating the way. The traffic below flowed calmly and rhythmically, not at all like the 401! A couple mornings, the haze in the distance obscured the expressway and even the high yellow lights completely. All this somehow comforted me.
One morning a gaggle of geese startled me, as they flew by in formation out of season. Two days in the row, I saw a “hole” in the grey sky, featuring the same two bright stars.
I realized that I could see some things better in semi-darkness than in full daylight – such as those high yellow expressway lights. This spoke to me of God’s care of us even in semi-darkness, as when songs or new approaches or reassurances come to me during the night when I’m burning a tea light candle.
This month, I also pondered the fact that I couldn’t identify Mt. Trashmore across the way until theday emerges from the night. This reclaimed old garbage dump is only visibleas itself in daylight, with no haze. In darkness, Mt. Trashmore is merely a black blob on the landscape.
And wouldn’t you know it…in the midst of all this focused noticing in one direction, I missed the eclipse of the moon! Sam did take a photo out our dining room window afterwards, with the sun reflecting off the high rises in downtown Kitchener and the moon still visible. I also nearly missed the sun dogs during daytime hours earlier this week, when I wasn’t looking out the windows then.
Second Setting: The Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory
Two friends and I made the trek to the butterfly conservatory on a cold Saturday. We stepped into a world all its own, filled with warmth, colour and energy. I reveled in the heat and humidity and sunshine.
I took in the energy of the many children, screaming in delight and fascination. I loved identifying at least 10 species of butterflies, and watching a Rice Paper land on a person and “ride” on that person’s face for a time. I listened for the high pitched song of the miniature finches, and marveled at the colourful Gouldian Finch. I spotted one of the new Red-eared Slider Turtles, placidly sitting on a rock. I especially enjoyed sitting silently on a bench with my two friends and taking in all the colour and energy.
That week was a time of raw grief at the unexpectedly early death of a friend and colleague, Margaret Loewen Reimer [more on Marg in a coming blog].
Being in that butterfly setting with two old friends and just observing the scene in silence became an unexpected healing balm for me.
I needed to notice the play of semi-darkness and light out my window in January. I also needed the silent presence of friends, taking in a lively scene together in a setting of warmth and energy.
Questions for Reflection:
What kinds of noticing have restored your soul this January?
Are things revealed to you more in light or in semi-darkness?