On Magic Wings

Candelin Wahl with a pink dogwood in the background

I am so grateful for friends. My friend, Candelin Wahl, came to visit me and stayed for two days. Our friendship goes back a long way. We met when we were going to the same church. We were twelve months pregnant between the two of us at the time. Then my son, Tim, and her daughter, Drew, were born within three days of one another. As our babies grew into toddlers, we would get together, often once a week, to let our them play with one another. She went on to have another daughter, Jamie. As our children grew, we adopted one another’s children as our second family. I still proudly consider Drew and Jamie my surrogate daughters. You can click on their names to visit their blogs and discover why I am so proud of them.

Yesterday Candelin and I had a magical day, which started out with a bike ride through our little village. The smell and sight of all the blossoming trees and flowers was intoxicating. The temperature was perfect, spring was in full bloom… what was there not to love?

After our bike ride, we did our civic duty… we went next door to the library to sort books for the book sale that’s coming up. Candelin wrote a message to me on the sidewalk outside the library, where there is sidewalk chalk for people to leave their art behind. What a friend!

Friendship Forever!

After lunch, we headed off to “Magic Wings,” a butterfly museum. When we walked in, all we could do was look around in awe at the magical fluttering of wings all around us. It was so incredible! For nearly two hours, we walked around and watched butterflies of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Candelin took more than 170 photos and several videos. Below is one of the more brightly-colored butterflies.

A male Cairns Birdwing

The Blue Morphos were the most amazing of them all, I thought. Below are several feeding on bananas. “Blue?” you might ask. What is so fascinating about these is that when they close their wings, they blend in with their surroundings, but when they open their wings, the “inside” of their wings are an iridescent blue. Beautiful!

Several Blue Morphos. 
While Candelin was taking a video, I walked down the path, and had no idea there was a “cloud” of butterflies following me. How cool! This is not as clear as it was, now that I’ve posted it to my blog, but you can still see the butterflies. This is no substitute for the real thing, but it offers a glimpse.

While we were in the conservatory, it clouded over and we heard rain on the roof. It got rather dark inside, much like dusk. We looked around, and many of the butterflies were hanging onto twigs and branches and folding their wings, like they were going to bed. We found out from someone who works there that that is exactly what was happening. Most of them go up into the high branches to perch, but there were plenty to see just above us. Don’t let your eye fool you… these are not brown leaves, they are butterflies going to bed.

Butterflies retiring for the night

At closing time, Candelin and I returned home for a late afternoon nap, and then she treated David and me to dinner. Afterwards, the three of us had tea in our living room. Candelin regaled us with stories of her travels from the last three months, played us a few songs on her guitar, and shared a photo album with us. For more about her travels, you can visit her blog, named Sundialer.

We awoke to a washed world this morning. Here in the Pioneer Valley we’ve been having beautiful spring days, with hardly a cloud in the sky. So the rain we received yesterday and last night was welcome. 
After breakfast, Candelin packed up her little car for the last leg of her trip. As she did so, she had me choose from a collection of stones she’d found in Fairystone State Park in Virginia. Then she said good-bye and headed home to Burlington, Vermont. I’m sure her husband, George, will be as happy to see her as she is to see him. She has been traveling for the last three months. I could tell she her mind was already with him, for she didn’t see me waving from my front porch as she drove away.
Candelin left me reflecting on all things magical: friendships, butterflies, spring blossoms, bike rides, butterflies with “gossamer wings,” and fairy stones. I feel blessed by her friendship.
I am grateful for the memories Candelin and I created over the last two days and I will cherish these memories always. They are  enhanced by the photos and the videos. 
Below is my favorite of the butterflies, and also my favorite photo that Candelin took yesterday.
A “Glasswing.” Candelin aptly renamed it “Gossamer Wings.”
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7 thoughts on “On Magic Wings”

  1. A magical day indeed. Someone once said that friends are given to us to make up for family that failed us. Don’t know that I’d go that far but they are precious. I cherish mine.

    Portland, Oregon, Zoo too has a Butterfly House. It’s been years since I was there – I now live in Alaska – but I’ve never forgotten it. The warmth and humidity and the cloth walls and above all, the butterflies everywhere of all description – huge, tiny, bright, muted – are a more persistent memory than the larger animals.

  2. Hi Saloma,
    Butterflies. Such beautiful creatures and such a splendid variety. My favorite is the classic Monarch.
    The photo of the pink dogwood is lovely. Some women desire diamonds, some Gucci bags, some designer frocks. My thing is trees. Whether they’re naked, scantily dressed, or in full evening wear, there will never be anything in nature more beautiful to me than a tree.
    Our fair maiden Spring is standing her ground in IL this year. So often she has been pushed aside by that bully, Summer. But this year her spectacular fashion show WILL go on. The white bride covered in lace, the blushing beauties in their delicate pinks, the sunshiney yellows calling for attention. Absolutely breathtaking. And one must not forget the shimmering, blonde mane of the Weeping Willow as it dances in the wind. Yes, I do love trees.
    Girlfriends are great! My friends bring depth into my life. When I don’t see them I start to go into withdrawl, literally. My creative side begins to wither, my petals droop. Sisters are awesome, too.
    I always enjoy your pictures. Thanks for sharing them and your thoughts. Hugs!

  3. What a perfect recap, Saloma! I, too, will always remember our perfect day. And my spring travels up the East coast remind me how much I have missed dogwoods in my 35+ years in Vermont. As we said during one of our scenic drives around your Pioneer Valley, dogwoods are as magical as butterflies: delicate white and pink blossoms, held out by slender, artful branches as if in invitation to gaze — each a real-life Japanese silkscreen painting. All that being said, you’re right that my heart soared as I drove north on I91 into the beauty of the Vermont mountains, and home to my sweet George.

  4. What a perfect recap, Saloma! I, too, will always remember our perfect day. And my spring travels up the East coast remind me how much I have missed dogwoods in my 35+ years in Vermont. As we said during one of our scenic drives around your Pioneer Valley, dogwoods are as magical as butterflies: delicate white and pink blossoms, held out by slender, artful branches as if in invitation to gaze — each a real-life Japanese silkscreen painting. All that being said, you’re right that my heart soared as I drove north on I91 into the beauty of the Vermont mountains, and home to my sweet George.

  5. I too love trees; it boggles my mind to realize that they are a plant like any other. My favorite tree has to be the Ponderosa Pine. I suspect they are a west-of-the-Rocky Mountains tree and grow only in the higher elevations. They are a tall elegant tree, with branches that start up high so that walking amongst them has the effect of a cathedral and are a rich reddish brown with a precisely patterned bark; up close they smell like vanilla.

  6. “Takes one to know one” – A friend that is, and you surely are one, Saloma.

    LOVE the butterflies. There are 2 different butterfly gardens that we visit up on Vancouver Island – in Victoria & the small town of Coombs. That’s one of the best ways I know to dive right into Spring, especially on those years when it drags its feet in coming…

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