by James Bates
sweetened iced tea
Oh, how they danced this morning on the summer breeze, drifting through the garden, keeping me company while I worked under the bright, hot sun. Janie loved butterflies, even talked to them, their own special language, and she would have loved today, surrounded by their gentle ballet, their colorful beauty. I know for certain they would have had a lot to talk about.
Before Janie died we'd often sit together amongst the zinnias and daisies and dahlias in the front yard, butterflies fluttering all around us, and watch them while we talked about this and that; the gentle musings of a couple married over fifty years. We'd sip sweetened ice tea and Janie would often dip her finger into the glass and hold it out next to her for a brave flutter-by (her endearing name for the braver ones) to join us. One often did, clinging to her finger, feeding, while we both watched in awe.
Today, I stop my gardening and take a moment to stand, stooped, as they surround me, these butterflies carrying with them myriad memories of the past; memories with Janie that are quietly returning on the summer breeze like the brightly colored swallowtails, painted ladies and monarchs, flitting from flower to flower; so many memories of times spent with my darling wife, here in our garden, she and I, in this magical moment in time, coming together again.