A butterfly moment – that element of bliss that carries beyond the mere memory. Replicating that lightness when all seems dark, cold and bleak.

A friend’s comment on her feelings made me ponder on my own sense of gratitude and happiness.

So, yes, I am grateful for running water and electricity – especially when I need a shower.

Sometimes showers can be therapeutic, blissful, sensual. Or just washing off the crud.

A metaphor for letting go (watching troubles, like bubbles, swirling down the drain) or getting ready for an appointment or medical test.

A spa-moment of scent, and heightened senses or a quick swish before the hot water runs out.

In each example, I am grateful. Appreciative of the opportunity, as so many around the world don’t access to such a luxury. But that doesn’t mean I experienced inner happiness. Bliss.

Yesterday, I went looking for some quiet, and some trees; found some “butterfly moments of experiential bliss.”

For the last two weeks or so, the large plane/sycamore trees lining my neighbourhood’s streets are being culled. Planted on that strip of grass between the curb and sidewalk over 50 years ago, their root systems can heave up the sidewalks, or branches tangle with utility wires.*

Within walking distance (or quick train ride and short walk) is an arboretum. Paths wind around a marsh and pond; areas staged for wedding photography; gardens and of course, trees. Not exactly quiet once the municipal pool opens, but no chain-saws or chippers to assault the ears.

I am grateful for such a space, for the trees, for the birds. These things make me feel good. A wash of happiness like the first brush of watercolour  across a canvass.

By the arboretum’s washrooms, is a playground. Inside the fence, giggling, running, sliding, scooting, toddlering kids. Their adult companions, seated on benches, chatting while dispensing hugs and snacks.

I went swinging. Each upward pump of outstretched legs was personal power – the strength necessary to deal/cope with the crud. Each down and backward tuck representing calm – the much needed inner peace against the outside chaos.

Tai Chi is meditation in motion. This was motion as meditation. I close my eyes, and feel the upswing, the downbeat. I felt/feel happy. Intense, powerful body, mind, spirit bliss.

Vanilla ice cream in a cup. The cool sweetness on an early summer day. Waiting for the train home, savouring every spoonful. Remembering childhood treks and pit-stops at Howard Johnson’s restaurants. Being picked up to look at the choices. In my chocolate, strawberry, vanilla world, the number at HoJo’s was infinity. I always, very happily, chose vanilla. In a cup. A butterfly moment [re]captured in memory’s net.

So, thanks, my friend. Your friendship has provided me with butterfly moments, too. 

image: Solar Prism, Christopher Marley

*My town has a history of apparently cutting first, thinking later (even with a Shade Tree Commission and an Arbor Day “Tree City” designation). Things happen without public notification, or explanation. Storms over the last few years had decimated the tree population. Fallen, damaged or cut down “just in case.” (I do fret over the massive oaks that loom over our little house – their trunks in the next yard, branches in ours).

Ironic, too, that in April I picked-up free tree “rootlets” at the library donated by the Arbor Day Foundation. Hope there will be planting of more sidewalk/utility wire friendly trees. Not sure if the home owner or the town is responsible for that. All around town, trunks remain, or filled in with grass, not greenery.