The little butterfly dances through the air and nearly lands on my shoulder before continuing on to the Japanese Honeysuckle. I was reminded of a tale told to me on my first real job in Rock Hill, South Carolina. I worked with an older man who really should have retired from the job long before I was hired. We were ditch diggers. Our job was to keep the ditch on grade and make sure that the it was ready for the pipeline that was to be installed. The hot southern sun and high humidity kept us covered in sweat. For heat safety we took frequent breaks with plenty of water and Gatorade. During a break on a particularly hot day a little skipper like the one in the feature image kept landing on my wet shirt. (Presumably it was after the salt I lost through sweating. ) My workmate looked at me with wide eyes and congratulated me on getting my wish. I was a little confused and asked him what he meant. He explained to me that these butterflies were really angels in disguise and that if one landed on you it means that they were bringing back the wishes that you had made on a dandelion. The longer we worked that day the more the little skippers landed on us and eventually we began to make guesses about which of our wishes was coming true. By the time we finished our shift we figured that we were getting everything that we’d ever wished for. I had never heard of that superstition before but all that guessing made the day go by quickly. It was fun to think about getting everything that we’d wished for.
The older man passed away at the end of that summer and I went back to college. Every time I see one of these skipper butterflies I’m reminded of the man I worked with one summer and all the wishes that were granted by his angels.
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Deep blue fades to black as the golden sunset transitions to red. In the forest edge the Katydids give their calls. The soft breeze carries the scent of freshly brewed coffee rising out of the warm cup in my hand. The day’s work is far behind me. I wasn’t really finished with all my tasks today but that’s alright. If we can’t take a few minutes to quietly enjoy God’s beautiful creation then what’s the value of the day’s effort in the first place? Sometimes a project turns out to be a little bit more than you anticipated. I started today with an ambitious list of “future accomplishments” to achieve. However, that didn’t happen. While it’s important to have goals life is more than a list. Life is a gift. At the end of day it’s not the accomplishments that should be counted. It’s the living that counts.
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The cool morning air glides gently off of mountain and pools over the water’s surface. The only sounds I hear are chirps of dawn chorus as song birds wake from their perches and greet the day. An ancient mud turtle leaves his nest on the bank and swims to a sandbar and begins to sun himself. I drop the tailgate of my big blue truck and carry my camera in one hand and my coffee cup in the other. I only have a few minutes to soak in the peaceful morning but I only need a frame or two. I keep an eye out for the eagle that I spotted a while back. I’m hoping that God has ordained another meeting for us. I really want a good shot of him catching his breakfast. I have played out the scene in my imagination nearly every day but so far he’s managed to avoid being captured by my lens. There’s been a near misses where he’s just a fuzzy dot in the sky. Perseverance will pay off eventually. These are the thoughts I was having with my morning coffee when I noticed how gracefully the willow bent over to touch the water. The branches seemed to bounce playfully as the river lapped at the twigs. With the eagle successfully eluding the camera and the coffee running out I decided that the willow would be my subject of the day. I think that sometimes God allows us to have a goal that’s just outside of reach so that we will stretch ourselves. After all, it’s the moment that we rise to the challenge that we become more than we were yesterday. It’s more about the effort than the success. I believe that eventually I’ll take a great photo of that eagle. It will be a bittersweet moment for me because I have truly enjoyed the chase.
Close your eyes and take a breath. Hold it for just a moment. Somewhere, deep down inside your heart lies your fondest dream and with it is your most desired wish.
Close your eyes a little tighter.
Don’t peek or it won’t come true.
Do you have a good vision of the wish.
Good, now raise the dandelion gently to your lips.
Be careful not to lose any of the fluff. That’s where the magic is. We’re going to need all of it.
Check the breeze. Is it blowing in the right direction? Good.
Okay. It’s time. Focus on the wish in your heart and slowly blow.
Release the fluff into the breeze. The seeds will carry your wish to heaven.
I hope your wish comes true.
Like in many parts of the world wishing on dandelions is an Appalachian tradition. In some versions the angels collect the fluff from the air and carry your wish to heaven. In other versions if the dandelion seed lands on you that means that your true love is wishing for you.
Some people think of dandelion as a weed but to our ancestors it was a valuable resource for food and medical care.
The image above was taken in my yard in West Virginia.