One Benefit to Our Landlord’s Approach


Because the grass isn’t growing, we haven’t seen a lawncare professional in ages.  And so, up the front of our place is growing some kind of vine.  It’s flowering.  The flowers are nothing to write home about.  They’re tiny white clusters and when they open up, you could fit the blossom inside any one of the “o”s you see here on the screen.  They don’t have a particular smell. 

But in the afternoon, when it’s so hot that you just want to get from your car to the front door before your shoes melt to the pavement?  It’s full of moths and butterflies.  Yesterday, both the Butcher and I were attacked by a monarch.

I haven’t seen a monarch butterfly in years.

I’m not sure the last time I saw a butterfly, period, that wasn’t flying outside my car or stuck to the grill of my car.

But here’s what’s weird.  I saw that butterfly and I could remember, clear as day, being out back of the farmhouse outside of Nokomis, where my parents had a huge garden and tons of flowers and I could feel my hands cupped around a butterfly or moth, depending on which one I’d managed to catch, before I ran over to show it to my mom.

That’s what I felt, clear as day, the soft brush of butterfly wings against hands that were so small they could barely cup around it.

I kind of have a bad memory and sometimes it makes me sad because the Butcher will bring things up that I can’t remember happening and I’ll feel bad that I’ve lost that.

But sometimes I think it’s all up in there still, those memories, so fresh that you have to shake your head a moment to remind yourself that that was almost thirty years ago and you’re in Nashville and grown and not in the country and small.  You just have to stumble across the right key to unlock them.

7 thoughts on “One Benefit to Our Landlord’s Approach

  1. There have been monarchs all over my yard this year. We usually see one or two over the course of the summer, but they seem to have settled in this time. I guess it’s the heat and the drought.

    I don’t get memory flashes from butterflies, but I do get them from the way the light falls. The light will reflect off something, or be falling at some particular angle, or just change because I’m walking around a corner, and I will get a picture-perfect 360 degree image of some other place where it did that. Sometimes the memories have enormous emotional significance, but sometimes they are completely mundane. If butterflies set that kind of thing off for you, maybe color flashes will do it more generally. Or flying insects.

  2. Those exact same vines are growing on the fence on my backyard. Similar reason too: things are so dry that I haven’t been mowing, and weeds have grown up in places.

    I thought about weedwhacking them, but then I decided I liked them. They add color to the fence.

  3. I noticed one of those vines sticking out between the top of our siding and the bottom of our roof overhang. After some investigation it turned out it was growing up the inside of the siding. It was really weird to just see it sprouting out of the side of our roof.

  4. If you have siding on your house, you have to sort of walk the edges once every couple of weeks and pull anything that looks the least bit viny or climby and is within six inches of the wall.

  5. My Jamaican townhouse (well, it was mine for 6 days) was covered with amazing trees and bushes and flowers and all kinds of wonderful flora that attracted all finds of wonderful fauna. Early am is when most of the butterflies were out and they were out in the hundreds – liitle, paper-thin, creamy white almost like butter trying to make use of the wind while still going where they needed to.

    I gotta say that if you have to be attacked by a group of something, choose a rabble of butterflies. It was like the best parts of childhood.

  6. Oh yeah, I meant to add that I’d been enjoying that vine the last couple of times I’d been by. I thought about commenting but feared that expressing my pleasure would usher in its removal, which would be sad.

    Okay, I know that’s now how cause and effect works, but just in case, I kept my mouth shut, until now.

Comments are closed.