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?


Jen Sardam said...

This is such a beautiful and inspiring post! It makes me think about how all of us are kids at heart, even if our adult brains do tend to take over and make that difficult to remember. It brings to mind this one scene in the Santa Clause something or other movie, where Tim Allen plays Santa and is handing out these toys the adults at the party. The toys happen to be toys that he, as Santa, knows they once pined for as children. At first they are gruff and look at him suspiciously, but, after a few minutes, they smile and revert to their simpler, openly trusting childhood selves. They chatter excitedly, lost in their reverie.

I have memories of watching Wonder Woman, dreaming of being like her - beautiful, strong, invincible. As children, we emulate those fictional characters whose qualities we resonate with most and want to possess ourselves. It was wonderful to take a trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing. I think the greatest things in life that really spark our hearts and souls are the little things, often those that pass us by, if we're not watching.

Mike said...

I appreciate your kind words, Jen! Your comment now brings to mind an old Nancy comic (really showing my age here) where Sluggo is intensely scanning the sidewalk, searching for the lost coins of strangers as a five-dollar bill is carried over his head by the wind. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Mike! You brought tears to my eyes. Brought back childhood memories - being carefree, no worries! --- Raquel