I saw him fluttering there, in the pool. Wings wet, almost unflappable. Butterflies weren’t meant to swim I guess.
I have loved them since kindergarten — since Mrs. Strand told us how they got their name. She helped us cut wings out of construction paper. Fold the edges. Glue them onto sticks. And when you rolled the stick between your sweaty, glue-stained fingers, the flaps fluttered. We laughed and marched around the classroom, wings almost lifting us off the ground. “That’s how they got their name, you see…doing just what you did.” We stopped and looked at her. “You fluttered by.” She continued, “Somewhere along the way, someone decided it was easier to say butterfly — easier than flutterby — and the name stuck.”
I have no idea if this is true. And I will not google it, because I like it being true, in my memory, and in my heart. So I will save this story. It will forever live with me.
So yesterday, when I saw him just barely fluttering, and not fluttering by, I tried to help. I got the net and lifted him out of the pool, onto the grass. He continued to flutter, but still not by. I began swimming laps, soon to find my little friend once again in the pool. I repeated the rescue. When I finished swimming, I checked and he was gone. I don’t know that it’s true, but in my heart he is now somewhere, fluttering by.
It’s the stories we tell ourselves that save us. Some created, slightly adapted, molded with time, and experience, but they are forever real. And that’s the beauty, I suppose, this deciding which ones to carry, which ones to let go. Some will try to form you – in the worst ways – and they can be hard to abandon. But when you do, if you can, make room for the kind memories, the loving ones, oh, how light your heart can be, so light, it may even lift you. Choose these. Carry these. Forever, together, let’s flutter by.