I went to a nearby lake today
And stood in the sunshine, stooped in the shallow waters.
I skipped rocks and tried to identify the former lives
Of floating plastic objects that I’d see bobbing in the distance.
There was a broom, and possibly a backpack.
After a while, I found myself back at the water’s edge.
A red clay shoreline was decorated with tiny pebbles that had been eroded down to powder, but not quite like sand.
I saw a few trees there, whose foundations had been worn away
By innumerable waves.
Their exposed roots hung over the rocky shallows of the lake,
And the mud settled in the water beneath them was cool and soft
On my sore feet.
I followed the soft sand trail
Around the weathered trees outlining the shore.
Pushing through the water, my eyes traced
The twists and bumps of the tree trunks
Until a little, pale purple butterfly
Butterflies have always reminded me of your love for them.
So I wasn’t surprised when, as I kept wading in the water,
I came across another one.
This butterfly was much bigger,
And had black wings, bordered with all sizes
Of brilliant blue dots.
It hovered around the water’s edge,
And the waves came so close to hitting its wings,
But it never got hit, or went down.
I thought about the vastness of the lake, and how
Easily the butterfly could be swept away into unfathomable depths.
I considered life. And I considered you, and how gracefully you survived every wave.
Even a few stray drops could bring a butterfly crashing to the sand,
Where the tide would sweep it away, forever.
I thought about how, if that butterfly stayed long enough,
Dancing over waves, that would eventually be its fate.
But it reminded me of you.
And as I stepped out from the water,
Walking back over the pebbles,
I saw those two butterflies, purple and black/blue,
Flying and circling each other.
And another little orange one, with big brown spots,
Was struggling in the grass, crawling away from the lake.