Bouquet of Butterflies


Jilda and I did some autumn cleaning last Sunday in preparation for our monthly League of Extra Ornery Songwriters meeting, which was at our house this month.


The League is a collection of our songwriting buddies that gather to play new songs, share information on equipment, gigs, and the meaning of life.


As always, we gave the house a once over, tossing magazines in the recycle box which is hard for us to do. We keep them stacked on our benches and coffee tables, thinking that one day we’ll get around to reading them, but we rarely do.


Then at the risk of looking like slobs, we sort through the stacks and toss the ones we’ll never read.

At one point I looked up at the ceiling fan and it had dust bunnies the size of Chihuahuas tangled in cobwebs, swirling around.


I cleaned the fan, and then headed outside to spray the sidewalk. Afterwards I went around back to sweep the leaves off the deck, which is a perpetual job this time of year.


We have a water oak the size of Rhode Island in the yard. It sheds leaves in an orderly fashion. Unlike other oaks that once bitten by frost, spend about three to four weeks, turning leaves into a tapestry of gold, rust, orange, and red before falling, the water oak spills bushels of leaves each day over the course of fall and winter.


As I swept the deck, I heard an acorn the size of a dime smack on the metal surface of the roof, and then race down the slope before bouncing off the deck and into the yard. It sounded like an old timey pinball machine.


I learned the hard way that you should never look up to see the acorn rolling off the roof. Last year while sweeping, one fell from the top, gained momentum and smacked me right between the eyes. I heard it, but I never saw it coming.


Today, one of the final chores was to get fresh flowers for the table and for the desk near the entryway.

Most of the flowers and vegetables are gone now, but the Old Maids (Zinnias) are still showing out.


Planting those flowers is one of the best investments we’ve ever made.  We planted them a few years ago and each summer they bloom prolifically until frost.


I was out rolling up the hosepipe when Jilda walked by clicking the scissors as she headed to the flowerbed.


A moment later I heard her gasp. I thought she'd stepped on a snake basking in the October sun, but when I stepped to the edge of the yard, I saw a bouquet of butterflies feasting on the nectar of the Old Maids.


I pulled the phone from my pocket and tried to snap a photo but each time I got close, they erupted off the flowers into a colorful cloud. There were too many to count.


After a few tries, I decided to just stand back and watch the show for a few minutes.

It’s interesting that we started out cleaning our house and ended up seeing a butterfly ballet.