In spring, the brightness of the sun brings to light many strange things that have been buried under the snow and dead grass all winter. Oddly enough, I spotted a butterfly wing the other day in the yellow weeds that lined a fence separating subdivision from cornfield.
The wing's bright orange, bounded by jet black lines, lay punctured on a grass blade, its flitting about in the wind a mockery of once was. How those colors might have remained vibrant so long baffled me, but a thing need not be young to possess vitality.
I turned the blade over to examine the wing, imagined how not so long ago it fluttered and darted about like a court jester amusing and entertaining children; maybe even their pet dog chased after it.
But as with all of us, the time must have come when a cold autumn wind flung the butterfly off course and into the blade. Or perhaps a cruel child caught it, and enthralled with his sudden power plucked the wing, then when bored let the debris go whirling about in the gust until settling in those weeds.
Like a tide, the seasons - and passing generations - advance and retreat, though. Indeed, at one time, a young poet's work is first published, only to become an entry in a dusty old book. Everything eventually waits to be rediscovered.
(originally published May 1, 2005)