Sunday, September 09, 2007
Flying In Paradise
In my world, it is only a one hour drive to paradise. A passport is required to get there, as is a love for entomological masterpieces. Paradise lies in Canada, just over the bridge from western New York State and slightly down river from the Falls called Niagara. Just outside the gates to paradise a sign reads: Butterfly Conservatory. Inside the gates, my heart takes flight.
Upon entering paradise, I am greeted immediately by four large flying flowers in the most electric shade of cerulean blue. I gasp out loud. They flutter around my head and leave traces of themselves in my stomach. Somehow these four flying flowers have pressed on my tear ducts, even though they are known to stay air born. It is part of their magic and purpose in life to remind all who witness them that beauty is food for the soul. Happy tears run down my cheeks. It feels good to be fed.
Not surprisingly, paradise is a tropical place. Water mists, lush foliage and warm temperatures set the stage for a continuous aerial ballet. It is a cast of thousands and intentionally un-choreographed. Each member of the cast is as stunning as the next. Some even thrill the audience by landing on hats and shoulders or nearby leaves. I walk slowly, so slowly along the paths in paradise, drinking in the colors and the shapes and the intricate costume designs.
And then comes the gift. It happens outside the butterfly nursery. I turn away from the marvel of cocoons and damp wings to be graced with the unthinkable. The elusive. The unlooked-for dream. An electric blue flying flower, the 4 1/2 inch wing spanned Blue Morpho, known to remain aloft, lands on my right hand. On top of the silver filigree butterfly ring I'm wearing on my middle finger. I stop breathing for a moment, afraid it will disappear. But it stays. Commotion begins to swirl around me as other seekers in paradise realize a Blue Morpho has landed. I'm rushed by cameras and rudeness as seekers jostle each other to get a shot of my hand.
There is no option for me to capture this moment, as my camera is held in the hand holding the masterpiece. It doesn't matter. Amid the minor chaos, the Blue Morpho and me have a conversation. I thank it for blessing me with its presence. I tell it how gorgeous I think it is. I thank it for staying. In response, the electric blue flower wiggles its antennas, looks me in the eye and says,"I am you, and you are me". With that, my hand is jostled and the flower flies on.
I linger in paradise, soaking in the glories that God has created. I linger in paradise, imagining my cerulean wings , damp and unfurling, lifting me skyward. I linger in paradise, one hour and one country away, balancing my mind, warming my heart, and feeding my soul.