I woke this Saturday morning to a chilly, grey sky peppered with flecks of snow that were lazily making their way to earth with no particular destination in mind. I lay there for quite some time, warmly nestled in a cave of blankets, thinking of this and that; getting lost in memories and pulling the threads apart from last nights’ dreams.
I have been sleeping in our guest bedroom this week. It’s a bright and cheery room with sheer white curtains tied back with long beaded necklaces-a repurpose of old costume jewelry belonging to my mother. The curtains are always pulled back to allow the morning sun to shine in- except for today that is.
Regardless, even with such dull looking prospects outside, the room somehow has its’ own sunny disposition. This room is where I keep my easel along with my collection of paints, canvases, palettes and brushes, paint clothes and empty water jugs; unfinished projects are stored haphazardly against the wall in what is otherwise a fairly tidy room.
Two floating shelves house a special collection of much loved stuffed animals; Raggety Anne leans against a jack-in-the-box while a Mr. Rogers’ Daniel the Tiger puppet holds a large ball made of elastics. There is a tinker toy, an army man, and a wooden jumping frog which, at one point in time, provided more than a few hours of fun.
An antique wooden bread box sits on one corner of a sturdy dresser; purchased from a small town thrift store, it was a steal for a few dollars. Two Gramma Moses prints hang on adjacent walls, depicting scenes of country living, rolling green meadows, pony carts and farm hands. Then, on the small wall beside the closet (which incidentally hasn’t any doors- no one seems to remember where they went…) hangs a picture of bright orange goldfish swimming in swirling, dark blue waters. It is a favourite of mine (my daughter painted it after all) and I often study it before drifting off to sleep or in the early morning hours, before the sun is barely up.
But on this particular morning, I was gazing sleepily out the window when I happened to glance a small piece of painted glass leaning up against the window. It was an art project my daughter had done in school, many years ago, of a butterfly. Long faded now, the colourful painted glass, peeling from years of sun exposure, is still a treasure to me. Slowly closing my eyes (to decide if I would finally pull myself out of bed) something came to me that was so lovely.
We were walking, my mother, myself and the kids who couldn’t have been more than 4yrs and 7yrs old respectively. A splendid summer day. I could feel the warm breeze on my face and hear my mother’s voice as if she were right there next to me. One of the kids spotted a butterfly and in no time they both were gaily dancing after it, as children will do…
Mom asked “Mag, did I ever tell you about the first time your brother saw a group of butterflies?”. Before I could answer that yes, she had told me on more than one occasion, she continued on.
“He couldn’t have been more than three at the time and oh Mag…he was the most precious baby boy…”. Then she smiled that smile of hers…
“I’m not sure where we were at the time, but we were probably in our backyard. I think he may have brushed up against a bush that these butterflies were sunning themselves on. When the bush was jostled- UP they went, flitting about-there were quite a few! As they flew into the air, your brother looked up to the sky and exclaimed “Oh Mommy! Look! Look at all the bootiful BUTTERFLEAS!”!
Then she started to laugh promptly followed by a few tears. She told me that it probably was one of the sweetest things she had ever heard…
Opening my eyes, I looked at the faded piece of glass with the butterfly in flight and thought about my sweet Mommy…and my brother. Then I closed my eyes again and decided that a few more minutes of visiting some memories was not too indulgent on a grey Saturday morning.