Carpe Diem

Art Showing Joe-Pye Weed and Summer Butterflies

Swallowtails and Joe Pye Weed, A Healing Garden

For August, I want to share something from my journal last year.

August 8, 2015

I am healing this week.

The breast surgeon cut a gash in my right breast to remove a lump of flesh. Stage Zero, carcinoma in situ.

I am in no pain, so it’s hard to rest. I go outside every few hours. The Joe-Pye weed billows down the hill in my backyard, six feet tall. It began blooming a few weeks ago and hardly drew any visitors, but now, in its third week, it has begun to take on the quality of an independent colony.

Iridescent blue wasps, honeybees, plodding black carpenter bees, odd flying insects of spotted colors I have never seen. Dozens and dozens of small butterflies.

And this week, the swallowtails and fritillaries have begun to alight.

When down there, I stand in reverie, letting this swath of nature wash over me with the buzzing and fluttering and hum of life.

The energy feels like a healing balm. I drink in the medicine, letting the sun and the sounds of a meadow filter into my subconscious, into my pores like an unseen serum.

It’s a cloud, a mist of energy or life. Surrounded as it is by quiet and unmoving green, it almost feels like a starship or perhaps a space colony, humming with energy from another dimension – as though it could separate from the earth below and take off into the sky at any moment.

It vibrates with a higher energy than the spaces around it.

Over the three weeks I’ve watched it – it must act as a kind of homing beacon – more and more butterflies find it. Fritillaries flitter around each other, bees hover over the blossoms. Black swallowtails fly in to join a half dozen yellow.

This afternoon I found a katydid on the milkweed. I never get to see bugs like this. A little lizard dashed off into the grasses.

My mom Elizabeth Wallace and me

My mom, Elizabeth Wallace, and me

My mom stands out with me.

She is one of the people whom I know can stand in a patch of grass and listen to the insects buzzing, and think it’s just as rich and wonderful as I do. This time together feels precious. Mom is getting older. So am I. Who knows how long we have to enjoy unhurried conversation, moments as insignificant as standing in a small garden of grass and billowing wildflowers and enjoying the hum of insects, the flitter of scores of butterflies?

But I don’t enter these meditations until later, when I reflect upon the moment.

I’m just there, basking in it.


 Resources

 A “Carpe Diem” Butterfly Garden

Try these natives from your local nursery:
Joe-Pye Weed      Blue asters      Goldenrod     Coneflower (Echinacea)

Online, you can order butterfly plant or seed collections from “A Native Gardener’s Companion,” www.PrairieMoon.com

 

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