This morning school went so well that we had time for a swim. While we were there, a toddler climbed out and said, “Dere he is,” pointing at a butterfly on the pavement. My stomach lurched. No no no no no, don’t drip on him.
I can remember when I learned two different bits of information when I was growing up. One scared me, and one made me very sad. Both were traumatizing.
The first thing was that when a butterfly’s wings get wet, they die. This broke my heart, imagining the loss of so many precious lovelies losing their lives in a summer storm. It is just tonight that I learn that might just be a myth. But watching the little butterfly today, I know it’s not great for them. With damp wings, she just flitted around, close to the hot pavement, and very much in danger of being trampled by unknowing feet. It took me a long time when I was young to get through a rainstorm without thinking of the poor butterflies and getting a bit upset.
The next thing, the really scary thing, was the day I found out we live on the outside of planet Earth and not inside the dome. I mean look around outside, that’s a logical assumption, right? It looks like a dome above and around us, don’t you think? On the day I found out we do NOT live inside a dome, the sky was the clearest blue with wisps of white clouds floating way up high. The laundry on the line, soaking up the sunshine, smelled sweet in the way that only sun-dried laundry does. The grass was summer green and freshly cut. Birds were singing, butterflies were flocking to the butterfly bushes. Idyllic.
And I was terrified. I wanted to run in the house as fast as I could and stay there. Forever. You mean, we are just dangling on the outside of this…..ball? At any minute I could float off into the nether regions of space? Oh. my. stars. Literally. I was gripped with fear. When my feet finally moved, I did go inside. I felt very small and vulnerable and unprotected in a way I never had before. And most likely haven’t since. My whole world shifted that day.
Gravity’s a really, really good thing, I decided. I tried not to worry over when it might give out. Ahem.
All of that came rushing back to me today in the few seconds of watching the little girl’s delight with the butterfly. Even though the information about the butterfly might not be completely accurate, and so far so good on the whole gravity thing keeping my feet on the ground, all of the emotions came rushing back too. Fear, panic, sadness, pain, feeling lost and heartbroken…..
Isn’t it funny what can take us back in time? What our brains decide to store and hang on to? What they decide to forget?
And isn’t it interesting what our little people brains decide about the world and hang on to with a death grip, when we first start assimilating all the information in the world that’s out there to learn? (I think I thought my parents were teasing or just flat-out ridiculous when they told me that about the earth. I mean, how is that even possible, right?)
I look forward to tomorrow’s lessons. I think I know what we will start off with. A little research on butterflies (I need my facts straight–if I’ve worried for nothing all these years…..) and a lesson on gravity. I don’t want them to grow up frightened or misinformed. Life’s hard enough to comprehend without all that getting in the way.
Love to all.