June 12, 2010

The story of one of my most favorite runs

I recently shared this story on the Runner's Round Table Podcast on June 9, 2000 RRT Epi 85 . It remains one of my most joyous, spiritual runs. It is the story behind the name of my blog link (which is also who I go by on many forums) and the name of my blog Flutter-bys.

I happen to love butterflies. I paint paintings of them, I plant flowers to attract and nourish them, and I collect just about anything that has a butterfly on it. But I don't collect live ones in nets, preferring to let them stay as I see them--tiny little free-flying paintings who beautify and grace the world for the short time they are around. Four years ago I was running my usual route along the wooded trail in the park adjacent to my house. As I ran on a footbridge, I spotted a butterfly sitting sunning itself on the rail. I stopped to look at it. Now butterflies, when they first emerge from their cocoons are sluggish little creatures, as it takes time for them to warm up and their blood to fill their new wings. I was thus able to gently pick up the butterfly to admire it. Pretty soon though, I felt the itch to continue my run, but the butterfly was not strong enough to take flight yet. So, I decided to start off and just see how long it would stay clinging to me. Well this little butterfly continue to cling to my arm, moving to my hand and around again to my arm, able to walk, but unable yet to fly not just for 1, 2, 3, then 4 miles, but for nearly 5 miles! Before it finally took off into the trees. I will always remember this run and this experience. What a gift it was for me, it is easily one of my most favorite and joyful runs!

The butterfly, by the way, was a Red-Spotted Purple, one of my favorites! The picture I used to illustrate this post is a close up of a painting I did of my son. When he was 8 or so, we collected some chrysalises and waiting for the butterflies to emerge, it was so exciting to watch! When they did emerge, they were much like the butterfly that ran with me, slow and unable to fly. My son held the butterfly in the sun for the short while before it was ready to embark on it's maiden flight and then he  "Set it Free" (clink link to see entire painting).

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