To Be Nine Again (Leighton Ford)

black-butterfly-alexandra-walker

Oh, to be nine again.

 

We were in the mountains for a few days, and I picked up granddaughter Leighton (just turned nine) to spend the morning with us.

 

I asked if she wanted to bring a book to read.

 

“No,” she said, “I will just bring my butterfly and that will be entertainment enough.”

 

She showed me this beautiful black creature she found with a broken wing on the croquet court the day before.

 

“I took him to our condo,” she said, “and kept him overnight in my ‘fairy garden’.”

 

She showed me her tiny garden made out of two rocks and a piece of wood with a coffee tin where she kept her butterfly.

 

“Why do you like him?”

 

“He listens to me,” she explained. “When I said stay still, and I went off to do something he was in the same place.”

 

“Does he have a name?”

 

“Nectarain. Because he likes to drink nectar. And the little spots on his wing look like rain drops.”

 

And she showed me how she put a flower where he could drink with his “sippy thing”, and explained to me all she had observed about caterpillars and butterflies, and how their tiny eyes looked like chocolate drops.

 

On the way to our place he went under the seat, but she found him, and spent the next hour with her fascinating new friend.

 

In the afternoon Nectarain had a painless end, and she buried him right by the swinging bridge at the top of Grandfather Mountain.

 

I don’t know how much time I will spend with a butterfly rather than a book.

 

But I would like very much to have nine-year old eyes again.

 

Leighton Ford

August 2014

 

Photo cred: Alexandra Walker

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