29 July 2012

Flutter by, butterfly

Granny Tarbox always -- and I mean always -- called butterflies "flutterbys." 

Think about it.  What do they do?  They flutter.  Flutter by.  Don't they?  Lillie Marguerite Hodgson Tarbox was an observant women. And she was rarely wrong, let me tell you.

Despite today's heat I took the camera out into the yard during the afternoon.  There's little in bloom, but always something interesting to see and to photograph presents itself to me when I go on a slow stroll.  To my delight -- and I'll add reassurance -- a tiger swallowtail flew into sight and put on quite a show.  I probably don't need to say that I thought about Granny.  I knew she would be right there with me on the delight meter were she suddenly and somehow to arrive on the scene.

This gorgeous creature did not stop the entire time I watched it.  For some 15 minutes.  I set the camera's shutter speed at 1/125 of a second and hoped for an in-focus shot.  That I got more than a single is pure bonus. 

While these three images were made at the abelia, this flutterby went halfway to Country Club Road (about 150 feet), returned to the area right in front of the house, visited the cryptomeria, checked out one, two, three, four crape myrtles, hovered over a couple magnolia blossoms and returned to the abelia.  Moving.  Fluttering. Rising.  Falling.  Flitting.  I could not keep up! 

Have you read the funny story about the woman who, say, stops washing the dishes to get the mail that's just dropped on the hall floor?  She reads one of the letters, a treasure from a college roommate.  That takes her to a photograph album.  The shelf where the album resides needs to be dusted, so she goes for the dust cloth.  But, there's a leak under the sink where the dust cloth resides.  To the garage for a wrench.  Through the garage window she notices that the bird feeder is empty.  Once in the yard, bird feed in hand, her neighbor calls to her for a conversation at the fence.  And, so it goes through the day.  The next time she enters the kitchen, it's time to start supper and the breakfast dishes are half washed and the water's cold.

It would be safe to say that's sort of how flutterbys go through their brief lives.  Always on the move -- and to my eyes anyway -- not finishing very much.

Finishing is my thing.  Needing to finish is my thing.  Butterflys probably don't have that need.  One of the responses Tal hears the most often when he suggests some activity or asks me to do something either with or for him is "just let me finish ... whatever -- this paragraph, this upload, this sink of dishes.  I resist fluttering.  I write out schedules.  I highlight items on my lists of things to do as they are completed.  So many people I know would ask me what was wrong were I to flutter or flit.  I don't know very many people who would judge flitting to be a wholesome thing.

How to allow myself time for both the head-down drive to accomplish and the unstructured and even aimless pursuit?   After all, with its relentless flitting, the yellow and black focus of my lens today did end up nourished. 

Inspire me flutterby.

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