Friday, February 24, 2012

Of butterflies and blue herons

A big snowstorm is expected over the weekend. Mother Nature is winding up to give us a roundhouse punch to the right temple. It may be her last blast before spring begins to show itself with crocuses and daffodils popping up through the mud. There are no guarantees. And the calendar is mostly a suggestion, not a rule. But the season of butterflies and blue herons is not far away, and both are extremely meaningful to our relationship.

Butterflies give us Helen blessings. Teri's mom was a big fan of the swallowtail butterfly, and when we see one we consider it to be Helen letting us know that we are on the right path. Seems strange. But it works. Last July, just as I began the 18-mile ascent of Beartooth Pass in Montana by bicycle, I encountered a swallowtail that seemed to tell me you trained for this, you prepared for this, you can do it and this is the place you need to be.

Blue herons are important to us too. On our very first river walk, at Pendleton along the Umatilla, on our first date, a blue heron carved a perfect circle in the sky above us. It seemed to sanctify our relationship, to tell us we were right for each other, to take the chance and see where this great adventure might take us. Ever since we have been on the lookout for other blue herons. Each time we see one it is a blessing on the relationship and tells us we are on the right path.

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