I am writing this brief entry from the park, while I watch Sylvana and her friends push each other on the swings and climb up and down the play structure. The sounds of “you’re it” fill the air, mixed in with their cries and screams, and the sheer joy of being at play. The tree under which I sit has lost most of its leaves, and as I look around, all I see are trees of red, yellow, orange and everything in between. Add a warm, sunny afternoon, and you have the perfect recipe for a happy thanksgiving day.
The autumn, of course, is a time of transformation, where you can see one season making way for another. Perhaps this idea of transformation is on my mind because yesterday we visited a butterfly exhibit at a nearby greenhouse. It was my first time there since my adolescence, and the first time ever for Alberto and Sylvana. What a magical experience! Butterflies large and small, of unimaginable colors and intricate detailing, were flitting around the greenhouse. They glided high and swept low, to land on the innumerable offerings of orange slices, or on a pant leg, a shoulder, a nose; or, in Alberto’s case, his head! They were amazing to watch.
More amazing, however, were people’s reactions around them. The adults especially were fun to watch. The same serious people that lined up to get in were now laughing and screaming with the same delight and glee as their children. Men and women who would normally not speak to each other were showing each other the butterflies they held, and then sharing them with children whose orange slices hadn’t yet attracted a butterfly. It was an energy of joy, one created by Nature’s most fragile and delicate creations. And it was an energy that stayed with us long after we had left.
Joy, playfulness, thankfulness – esential ingredients on this continuing inner journey.