Butterfly Eyes

Written By: Michelle Madonna

Driving on the serpentine roads, fields of wildflowers turn my eyes into butterflies. Summer has overcome me, my skin so tan, my heart so warm. The serene beauty of the eastern end of Long Island entices me and holds me hostage and there is no breaking free. Serenity holds in my soul as I drive these roads and ingest the picturesque scenery of this sublime landscape. The land and the sea and everything in between are like the intricate patterns on the wings of five thousand different species of butterflies. I look at the landscape and think of this moment in time, so delicate yet so complex. My pretty eyes blink, my pretty hazel eyes so big and full of wonder. I find it funny to think that I have had these eyes for thirty-five years. I close my pretty eyes and start to breathe slowly so the precious moment sets into my mind. Memories flood my mind. My eyes open. The sunflowers dance in the landscape, polka dots of yellow on the horizon line. They smile at me and know all of my secrets. At five years old, my tiny hands touched the soil and planted wildflower seeds. My eyes watched those seeds grow into golden yellow sunflowers. The butterfly danced around the flower and hovered there, rolling out its proboscis and drinking nectar from the carpel. The vibrant colors of the butterfly’s wings permeated my eyes. I was grounded in this intricate moment of time, with no thought of the past or the future, only the present. Life was so simple through the eyes of a child. I sometimes try and imagine myself there once again. That butterfly never came within my reach. My little hands tried to catch it but the butterfly’s lust for nectar was always bringing it to new places. I smile and remember the special moment and connection I had to the landscape at such a young age. This connection has only grown deeply over the years. The eastern end: such a vast contributor to a meaningful part of my life. It was October of 2009. The autumn air was crisp and it was a time for passing. I brought yellow flowers to her bedside. Yellow flowers always made her smile. The moment was beyond intense yet her smile so soft and reminiscent of a petal on a flower. She took her last breath and I can still hear the silence. Then came the crashing of tears and the thrashing waves of sadness. Shortly after she passed, I ran away to the west coast. I left the eastern end. I left everything on the floor of that room that one cold day in October. The loss of a mother is inexplicable. I did not know at the time how that day would intrinsically change who I was and who I was to become. Suddenly last year, an angel guided me back home. I was driving to Southampton and felt a warm presence. I slowly started picking everything up again. I started picking up the pieces of my life that I left on the floor that one cold day in October. My mom was so sweet and her name was Patty. Everyone loved her spirit and embraced her warmth. There was a lot of illness in her life yet it never stopped her from smiling. Patty loved the simple pleasures in life: cracking a peanut from its shell, strolling in a garden, hugging her daughters. I never thought it fair to bestow illness upon such a sweet woman with such a sweet nature. But we all know that there is no such thing as fairness in life. Fair is just a word to describe a complexion. It is just our fate perhaps, decided by something out of our control. Or shall we say our destiny? All the little moments of my life have lead me here, my hands typing this piece. It is the bittersweet course of this thing we call life. I am thirty-five now and I walk through a flower farm in Southampton. The sunflowers glance at me and they know me well. It is like this intense circle of life where this moment in time rushes me back to the sunflower I was looking at thirty years prior. An epiphany overcomes me. Tears drop and I remember my dream of becoming a writer at the age of eighteen. My tears tell me that I lost track of my dream. “It is okay”, she whispers to me; we are allowed to do things like this because we are not perfect. We make mistakes, we lose track. Then we find ourselves again one day swimming in moments that are so bittersweet. It is the beauty of life and living, that sweet silver lining. You see my friends; writing has always set me free. This epiphany has been a blessing. Years of my life have come to this one little moment in time. A contributor, the landscape of the eastern end. All of the intricate moments of my life are right in front of my eyes. I can see more clearly now. My butterfly eyes, my eyes like butterflies….