Words hovered in my head waiting to go on paper. I’d even been encouraged to put them together and send them. I began eagerly, but then the butterflies beckoned.

Last week, a swarm of Gulf Fritillaries enticed me to frolic with them, perhaps in gratitude. Their early stages advanced from the dot of a yellow egg laid on a leaf, through a series of ever larger bundles of black spikes, to obese orange caterpillars as they stripped my Passion Flower vines to nothing by stems. (Not to worry, the vines rise from the dead as surely as a Phoenix, and they are already putting on new leaves.) Joining the Fritillaries were Monarchs, Painted Ladies, ordinary Sulphurs, grand Spicebush Swallowtails, and scores of little brown butterflies with various markings to whom I have not been introduced. On this cool crisp October morning they seemed to call, “Come outside to play.”

A quote from Robert Herrick of long ago (1591-1674) came to mind as he advised the young virgins to “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,” for the “same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying.” Last week’s first cool crisp October morning foreshadowed the coming of winter when butterflies would be migrating if not dying. The days for playing in the yard among the smiling butterflies grew as short as those of the rosebuds.

Still the manuscript waited. It would not write itself. Torn between the few butterfly days and the need to write words, I did what I had to do. I took turns and combined the two. While I worked in the yard outside amongst the flying friends, I thought about the next part of the story. When I came inside to write the next part of the story, I watched the butterflies out my window. I’m guessing it’s what my role model, Eudora Welty, would have done. 

I wrote this blog last week on the day of my temptation, and I’m glad I followed my urge to the yard. A cold front blew in over the weekend, and those butterflies took themselves to a warmer playground. The manuscript is still a work in progress.