Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Butterfly’s Dance

For Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Although it might seem contrary to my introverted nature, as my husband is well aware, I have always been a flirt. The amusing thing is, so is he. So we understand one another. Back in high school, where we first met and began dating, he and I flitted from friend to friend with those subtle nuances that only those most familiar with flirting truly understand. Of course, in this day and age, I always find it necessary to add that flirting, if done right, is always innocent and is only practiced under careful and considerate circumstances. In fact, if you are NOT a flirt, you probably should stop reading this particular blog entry for it seems that non-flirts are quick to negatively judge. We flirts only seem to be understood fairly by fellow flirts. But if you are continuing to read this, let me tell you that it is also best to flirt only with other fellow flirts and only in appropriate settings. Flirting at work for example is certainly not recommended. (But of course, Steve B. and Peter S. were exceptions for me! Ha!) I tend to fall back to my flirting self when I least expect to do so. Sometimes it occurs when I am bored. Sometimes it’s an older man who flirts with me first. (Note: In the old days, flirting was often referred to as being charming with the opposite sex. Believe me, I know because I grew up with a very charming father!). And sometimes I fall into flirting when I am exploring a new setting.

Today I met two fellow flirts. We did not identify ourselves in this way of course, but let me assure you, I did some flirting today. One man and I found ourselves cracking jokes and laughing together at the back of our classroom where we attended our final day of classes at Rice University. It was obvious to the two of us that our last few hours of class were boring us; after nearly 20 hours of instruction in two and a half days’ time, we were ready for the class to end. He and I had been paired together by our instructor two days’ earlier to practice a poetry exercise. We discovered we were both new to the program we were being trained for and that truth had created a bond. As our time in class continued, we realized we also had the same sense of humor. What can I say? That similarity is always attractive. On that last day, we turned to flirting out of desperation to pass the time. Of this I am sure.

The second flirt was a worker at the Natural Science Museum. I’d gone up to him to ask a question about the Butterfly exhibit and had made a joke that he had laughed much too heartily in response to. He ended up following me around the exhibit at first until I gave him a few subtle clues that our flirting time had come to an end. Fellow flirts also realize this: flirting is not fun and is therefore to be ended when one flirt decides it is. To this man’s credit, he knew the rules of flirting; he left me to enjoy the butterflies.

Watching the butterflies, what was said to be a thousand of them in this beautiful solarium, I thought of how lovely it is that these beautiful creatures emerge from their safe little cocoons to graze amongst flowers of color and to fly so prettily, often chasing one another as if dancing. As if flirting.

I took a seat on one of the wooden benches inside the butterfly garden and after a few minutes, a lovely rice paper butterfly landed on my sneaker. I had been hoping one of the butterflies would land on me but I knew that if it were to happen, it would happen by the butterfly’s choice. It could not be a forced meeting. I sat and admired the butterfly and made the decision I would not move to leave until he had flown off my foot. When he did leave, I too took to flight to admire other beauties, staying clear of the museum worker of course!

The flittering and fluttering of a butterfly is a thing of beauty, as is the experience of flirting. In the act, we flirts leave our safe cocoons, spreading our wings, making our way for the fun of the dance, looking for colorful places to land. We will not stay long, but our meetings and our dances, if taken in the way they are intended, are moments of innocent and sweet affection. We wish only to make connections, to alight upon another for a short while we make our way through life.

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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