Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Girl with the Butterfly Wings

Last week while driving I saw the cutest thing I’ve seen in a really long time. A little girl was running up a grassy hill with a pair of huge butterfly wings flapping on her back. And her older brother was running with her. They were both smiling. And that image hit me with so many thoughts at once I had to write them down.

She put something on that made her happy, and wasn’t worried about what others might think. If anything, it would make others happy. She was probably thinking how great it would be to fly, and not that it isn’t humanly possible.

She was playing with her brother instead of fighting with him.

She was not stressed, thinking about work, or about who or what the next disappointment might be. She was just having fun. She and her friends probably laugh all the time just by being silly.

She looked like she was actually trying to fly up that hill.

And it reminded me of when I was young, not in butterfly wings but close: a safety-pinned towel that served as a Superman cape that allowed me to fly.

[And before anyone from my family reminisces for me, I also recall running around the neighborhood in my PJs before bed, with a fly (hell, it was a buttonless flap before the days of Velcro) that wasn’t built to prevent the instant humiliation of a young boy as he realized why the wind felt a little extra comforting.]

And I remembered playing with my friends in the summer from morning until I had to be told to come in for dinner three times, ultimately to wolf down my food in record time so I could get right back out there before it got too dark (my definition of too dark was equivalent to a full solar eclipse-not exactly the same as my folks').

It took me back to the days when all of my needs were met, and the only thing I had to truly consider was how to fill my time.

And as all these thoughts flew through my head, I realized I was smiling, and not thinking about work, or who or what the next disappointment might be. And wouldn’t it be fun to pull the car over, run up to the top of that hill, and roll down like a big log until I’m dizzy? And wouldn’t it be cool to fly?