The fairies gathered near the grotto at the appointed hour, their little shadow selves barely visible in the darkness. Their excited chatter could be heard almost like birdsong through the forest.
It took the strength of all the fairies, heaving together, to get the old wooden bucket lowered into the deep glowing pool. With Herculean effort, the tiny hands pulled the full bucket back up to the top.
Their elfin cheer reverberated throughout the woods as they spilled the bucket out, dusting their wings with the powdery fairy gold. Sparkling anew with their magic, they flitted off into the night.
maybe you remember standing close but not too close smiling, laughing, knowing each other just enough to feel almost afraid tremulous with our unspoken longing. people all around us we couldn’t see beyond our syncopated hearts bantering and flirting.
i looked away a moment and suddenly felt your soft, playful touch, a gentle tickle, taking me by surprise. i whirled around laughing, eyes alight, meeting yours, that sparkling heartbeat stealing my breath.
but i wonder now that we two still spin in the reaches of our lonely galaxies. we might glow a singular orb but for the harnesses of our wounds. perhaps, who knows, the comet yet roams the wild deep skies.
We found the eggs of a Monarch butterfly on the underside of a milkweed leaf. Dad got a big jar and put the milkweed leaf there, along with other milkweed leaves. And we watched it every day.
Soon, there was a little caterpillar that quickly grew into a big, tigerish caterpillar. We kept bringing fresh milkweed leaves, and the caterpillar ate and ate and ate. We put our faces right up to the jar to see.
One day, the caterpillar switched gears entirely and got about the business of creating its astonishing chrysalis, that ethereal pale green with the touch of gold, like an angel’s wing. And every day, we just watched and waited.
Finally, more magic happened. The new Monarch emerged with its limp wings. We stared, as the butterfly pumped and tested the wings. Then, we knew it was time.
We took the jar outside and opened it up near the milkweed patch and the trees. The Monarch flew up into the skies. We stood gazing, amazed and happy.
Little did we know then how tenuous life was already becoming for the Monarchs. We would watch every year for their migration, and slowly realize that something was happening. Their numbers were dwindling.
The glimpse we had of the precious and beautiful life of our Monarch butterfly made us open our eyes to the wide world and all of the ways we are connected — mysteriously and wonderfully. So now we watch for the butterflies and the birds and the fish and the bears and the bees and the milkweed and the trees and so much more, and we tread ever more softly in the home we share.
I topple recklessly down the stairs, hands flailing, no thought of falling in my panic to flee. I sprint to the door, both arms in front of me, only to find it locked.
A fresh cascade of tears falls on my hands as I turn the lock and knob in a frenzy. I fling the door open with a backward glance. I bolt, sobbing and panting, into the night air.
I quickly confront the large stone wall. Like a penned animal, I scamper alongside it, looking for an opening.
Whimpering with frustration, my hand on the cool stones, I feel my way to a small portal. I lift the latch with shaking hands and push through the gate. The sound of a step on gravel snaps somewhere behind me, followed by an angry curse.
I hurtle into the darkness.
By morning, I am disheveled and exhausted, but still moving. I feel the air on my skin where my bodice is torn. I begin to think again.
As the sun climbs higher, I finally notice the unknown path I somehow find myself traveling. Dreamlike, a sea of lavender heather surrounds me. I glance upward where a hawk soars high in the sky. In the distance, I spot a diminutive spire amidst the green trees of a valley.
A sudden rush of gratitude flooding through me, I trudge forward.