A flaming copper bark dresses my parasol pine this morning and varied pinks light up houses on the hill. It is cool but not cold; the air is still, filled with bird chatter and wafting scents of flowers waking up.
Sounds climb without panting all the way to the tree line behind me and fade out.
There should be the gurgle of a fountain or an occasional tinkle of wind chimes to carry thoughts to a happy place… then my soul could ride the roundness of those notes and smile, arms spread eagle like a child falling in a heap of leaves or snow…
“That’s what we do when happiness fills up our senses, we fall backwards and float” says the disheveled sprite from the patch of grass by my chair.
She looks at the sky as she faces the rising sun, barely covered in paper thin petals, hands folded behind her neck, elbows out like wings unfolded…
Grey eyes, in a sideways glance, smile as she prattles on: “because sometimes there is an embarrassment of First Feeling*; it is too much. Oh! it doesn’t happen often but it can be overwhelming.
“There are times at the start of the day, in the softness of morning light, when sprites can get carried away by the scent of Russian olive, the grace of an arching branch or of a palm frond, the sweetness of dew glazing a leaf,
the tenderness of a quivering blade of grass as it changes color when the sun first glances at it … Now throw in the pure bright song of a warbler.
When all these things generating sensations come together, an acute moment of sensory overload happens. It is…” she hesitates as she looks for the right words, then continues with a slight eureka-nod :
“It is like music. Imagine Grieg’s Morning embracing everything, wrapping the world in ecstatic colors and a taste of pure love. It is joy laughing.
And when we feel that joy rising and bubbling up from our toes to our fingertips, an irrepressible giggle makes its way to the throat as it waltzes on blissed out nerve ends.Then we smile wide with that giggle and float on multiple colors of sound ripples.
We bounce, dive, maybe even throw in a backstroke or two in light and sound waves and ride curls of aromas… We feel everything at once, all of it on our skin and through it… That’s when we must close our eyes”, she says as she does it.
I wait, holding my breath just a little.
The light changes to a butter cream. The sun skims a thorn, reaches a leaf and covers her eyes with its shadow. The fragrance of Russian olive, lighter than jasmine or orange blossoms, lingers in lazy circles and comes to rest between us for a breath intake and then is gone.
“Because, you see,” she goes on so softly that I can barely hear her, “should one sweet butterfly wake up too early and happen to wander in that conjunction of sensual abundance, we might just shatter and become the powder on his wings.”
Iridescent powder of pixie dust on butterfly wings? Really?
Huh! A kind of petite-mort blown to smithereens… I chuckle inwardly.
“What?” she asks with mild indignation.
A jumble of half-thoughts vie for expression but no words come out, so I give up the fight with a shrug. I do that a lot these days.
I wonder. Is that why we smile when we see a butterfly, follow his wild flight path, and when he stills, wonder at his markings and spots?…
Are we unknowingly looking at traces of pure bliss and somehow trying to capture a little of that joy?
Recycling giggles and smiles, is that what he does as he flutters by so carelessly?
What else does he carry, I want to ask her.
But only a dried parchment-like blossom, feeling the breeze, shudders in sun-drenched grass.
The new resident chaffinch observes me from the chipped rim of the flower pot. Vapor trails stretch and occupy the sky in crisscrossing threads.
And the sun laughs at me as I scan the lantanas for traces of butterflies.
I just smile.
*First Feeling= Sprites are born giggling, that’s why they call happiness “first feeling”.