In Fall of 2012, I found myself in Australia, a place I had always wanted to experience.I was enchanted.Such beauty, wide open spaces, green/blue coves, crashing waves.There is much to tell of this trip but something small happened that many be a stretch for some .So stretch along with me.
On an off day, we went hiking and I hated most of it.Straight up, no switchbacks,no shade and with summer heat shimmering.No one cared that I was lagging behind.Younger family members sprinted up the winding trail like goats and I wondered why I had agreed to this trek.It was two miles up, and the view was lovely. On the way down, again I lagged, disgusted with everything, and everyone ahead. I told them to go on and sat down on a pile of timbers feeling quite alone and disgruntled. As soon as I sat, I noticed a small white butterfly.Around and over me it fluttered, never landing, just bobbing.It never left.This felt like a visit ,that's the only way to describe it.I settled in to enjoy the company of this flighty creature. It's movements seemed playful.I smiled and may even have spoken to the butterfly.Asking it to stay.Refreshed, I began the descent to the farm house again, this time carrying with me the small pleasure of those few moments.
The trip ended and we travelled home dragging jet lagged bodies with us.It was a few weeks later that the second part of the story begins.At Mass one Sunday, a young man and his wife sat behind us that I knew by sight to have been former members of our church.As I started to leave the pew, he tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could talk to me.I smiled and he began to ask if I had a good relationship with my mother.Not knowing him, I was slightly alarmed.I didn't know where this was going and began backing away.He explained that since two near death experiences, he sees things and she, who he assumed was my mother, was all around me during mass. Really? Now, I was inching faster down the pew but he persisted and startled me by asking if I had had an encounter with a butterfly recently.I told him my tale.He said that this was my mother comforting me.I didn't cry then, I saved it for now.
There are more things under the sun than we can imagine.I took the picture above from the pile of timber that day because I knew dimly that something unforgettable had happened.