I wonder how many gobsmacking beautiful or amazing moments we miss while we’re racing through our days preoccupied with tasks and schedules.
A recent moment reminded me that there’s a whole lot out there to experience – as long as I slow down and notice.
A few branches broke off my potted fig tree. Rather than let them go to waste I decided to plant them as cuttings. Wanting to try willow water, a homemade rooting solution that improves the chances of a cutting growing roots, my daughter and I headed to a nearby creek in search of willow branches.
Wandering down to the creek my daughter pointed out an insect pupa. I stopped for a moment and agreed it was unusual and beautiful. I continued trudging towards the creek and again – only momentarily stopped when she pointed out butterfly after butterfly.
Eventually I paused and looked. Really looked. I finally noticed that there were dozens of large orange and black butterflies fluttering around us. Then I noticed we were standing within a huge patch of Milkweed, also known as Cotton Bush, a plant favoured by certain species of butterflies. We stood in awe and watched as dozens of butterflies fluttered around us.
As we watched the butterflies we noticed bright yellow, black and white striped caterpillars crawling all over the Milkweed. A butterfly fluttered past and stopped to lay eggs in front of us. The unusual insect pupae we’d seen when we first arrived was everywhere and we realised it was the butterfly chrysalis.
We spent an hour exploring and watching the butterflies and caterpillars in awe. My daughter delighted in seeing the butterfly lifecycle she’d read about, happening in front of her eyes. It’s a moment I’ll treasure. And it’s a moment I very nearly missed.
I’m glad I slowed down and noticed this moment before it fluttered by unrealised. The moment reminded me that it’s the journey that is important – not the destination. To be honest, the fig tree cuttings and willow branches are sitting in the fridge still waiting to be used, whilst my daughter and I have busied ourselves learning more about butterflies and the Lesser Wanderer butterfly in particular.
[Originally published in the The Newcastle Herald 20th April 2013]