March arrives with wings

What is this funny little leaf? Take a step off the trail near the pond. Look closer. It's a tiny butterfly on this windy day, March first.

Closed. Open. Closed. Way open to soak up a moment of sunshine in the gray day. Closed. Surfing the wind on a stalk. Unconcerned or too chilly to fly when I get so close with my camera. It takes many shots to get a few good ones with the stalk blowing and weaving.

Here come the children single-file with their nature field trip workbooks. They've eaten their sack lunches, and take one last walk before boarding the school bus.

I'm not the teacher today. I can step aside, smile, and let them pass.  I'm walking to decompress from Open House at school the previous evening. Surfing the wind, listening to the gentle percussion of thin branch against branch, of woodpecker against old trunk.

The Trinity River Audubon Center hosts one hundred children every school day for a four-hour nature education program. That's twenty-five thousand kids in a school year, many having a rare adventure out of the city.

It's taken me decades to discover my serenity comes from walking in nature. Decades more to spot the hairstreak butterfly head down with wings closed.

This was only my second visit to the center, but it is worth the drive. At six dollars for an adult admission, it is a mental health bargain. My head is even more unscrambled by the drive with Simon Slater narrating Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.

Hold onto the stalk in the wind. Ride the weaves and waves. Open and close your wings. Breathe.

Photos and text © 2013 Nancy L. Ruder. All rights reserved.

And if you are of a certain age, you might just recollect a song by the Youngbloods.  Hear it here.

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