We were tourists, doing the things tourists do. On this particular sunny morning, we visited the butterfly house. I was only ten or so when I last saw butterflies like this, so it was a treat to do something out of the ordinary.
We wound our way through the city streets. I had lived here many years ago, but all was changed and seemed busier than before. We entered part of the city I had never visited. Could this be correct? Our satellite navigator told us we were in the right place. And there, on the side of the road, was a small notice.
We pulled in, keen to get out of the sun, and went through the front door into a well-stocked shop. Butterflies of all descriptions covered the shelves – writing paper, paintings, fans, wall hangings. It was tempting to stop and browse, but the real butterflies beckoned and we went through the double doors.
“Do not open this door until the outer one is closed.”
We did as we were told and walked through the second door into a sauna of heat. The butterflies are more active when it is warm and humid. And active they were. Brilliant blues, flashing in the bushes; tiny orange wings, fluttering above the water; stunning yellow and black patterns, sipping nectar; and this one, in the picture, drinking from slices of cut pineapple and orange.
As I stopped on a stepping stone in the middle of a stream to watch her, she fluttered up and landed on my leg.
Entranced I stood still and had the opportunity to study her for five minutes as she rested, seemingly secure on my trousers. She was not brightly coloured, but her markings were exquisite. How could the Creator come up with so many designs? According to the notices posted around the house she was an owl butterfly. Aptly named, the ‘eye’ seemed to glint in the light. Completely relaxed she waved antennae and sat, unperturbed by the blueness that surrounded her.
We got to know one another a little in the time we spent together, I marvelling at the simplicity of her beauty, she enjoying a quiet place to sit.
I was still balancing on my stepping stone when she flew away. I was sad to see her go but had to admit it was a relief to move to safer ground.
I have always thought the touch of a butterfly was like a kiss from God. This morning, I felt as if He had given me a strong embrace through the fragile gift of this butterfly, and I celebrated His love for me and mine for Him as I captured the moment.
It was only afterwards when my companion sent me the photo she had taken that I realised I have a memento of the moment.
A kiss of God. A moment of blessing.