Monday, February 13, 2012

Everything Between Us is Recollected

Around the entrance to the mall, the camphor laurel grows, hardy. I was leaving, one day this week, with a bag of shopping and I stopped to look at a flash of blue in the laurel leaves.

This isn't a place you stop, really, and the creature didn't make me wait. It...I want to say fluttered, but of course it didn't, its flight is more direct, more muscular than that, although I'm not entirely sure it has muscles.

Triangles of blue, bordered with black...darting ? Daring ? Drifting ?

I knew its common name. To see a creature with triangles of blue on its wings and to remember it by the name 'Blue Triangle Butterfly' is not much of a cognitive leap; somewhere in my memory was the butterfly's true name, out of reach.

As it flew higher, further, away and I walked on with the groceries, there came into my mind two distinct thoughts. Or rather one thought and one recollection.

The thought was this: I'm so hopeless, I never remember anything.

And the recollection was...not as clear as a slide show nor  in the middle of the screen. It was like the flickering of the film last weekend, off at the side, an ungraspable disturbance at the very edge of my field of vision. Although disturbance implies unease and this recollection was not lacking in ease. It had a painterly quality, as though morning light were flooding a room in the northern part of the world, in high summer.

I watched a woman - the young mother - watch a butterfly in a garden, call the children to see it, children who were young enough to come when called and to be impressed by the visitation, to follow it with their eyes until out of sight and then scramble indoors as if the search for the name for that moving blueness was a treasure hunt and the name itself a prize.

Somewhere to the left of this painting, the sequence - observe, call, follow, scramble -  folded, so that time could fit neatly into a frame - was a vibration of a bell, perhaps a temple bell, an aural shorthand for the Buddhist story that a butterfly is a loved one's soul, returning to us, briefly.

And under, or perhaps over or wrapped around was the sensation of kingliness, a classical gravity, the letter 'S'. There had been a time of struggle, momentous, and the grieving of a royal death.

The woman, the children, the bell, the king. Between the camphor tree and the traffic lights; a moment. Layers concertinaed in the time it took to berate myself for my not knowing.

Graphium sarpedon.

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