It turned out to be a gorgeous day with pillowy clouds floating across the cobalt sky and the sun playing hide and seek behind them. Shafts of golden light spilled down from the yellow-orange sphere and danced along the delicate coral petals of the azaleas that lined either side of the brick walkway I was traveling down.
I had been wandering along the path for a while, before coming to a stop so that I could lift my head skyward to bask in the warmth of the day. Not able to resist the urge to inhale deeply, I drew in a long cleansing breath. My nostrils were greeted with the sweet aroma of flowers and freshly cut grass. Everything about the moment was soothing, so much so that every muscle in my body let go of the tension they had been carrying and relaxed, even my eyelids grew heavy and fell shut, my naturally floppy ears drooped more than usual, and my tail began to wag back and forth behind me.
“Ahhh, sweet surrender,” the words rolled easily off my tongue and began to trail away, fading until an insistent buzzing sound rose to replace them. Against all my desires, I blinked my eyes open to find out the source of the noise and was quickly rewarded with the delightful sight of two jumbo bumble bees playing tag right in front of my nose. They began to buzz away from me blazing a trail down the brick walkway, their flight taking them further away with each passing second. Inquisitive by nature, I found that I could not resist the urge to follow behind them to see where they were headed, so I trailed behind them from a safe distance so as to not disturb them.
They zipped to the left and darted to the right before commencing with an intricate loop de loop maneuver that led them off the path and into a row of pink and white roses. I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye yet but was left without a choice in the matter.
No sooner had I lost my buzzing friends when a black and orange monarch butterfly floated by and softly landed on the tip of my nose.
“Follow me,” he said as I stared at his miniature face through my own crossed eyes.
“Sure,” I said, amazed that I was able to speak butterfly.
With a smile and a nod of his head the monarch launched himself off my brown furry proboscis, his wings delicately unfolded, and he floated away with ease.
“If only I could be a butterfly,” I whispered in awe.
Mister Butterfly flitted effortlessly through the air, occasionally glancing back over his shoulder to check on my progress and also to ensure I was able to keep up with the pace he was setting. In no time he had kindly escorted me to the end of the path which terminated in a large circle enclosed in a row of boxwoods and a large cauldron shaped water fountain situated squarely at its center.
“Please have a seat,” the butterfly said, indicating an area shaded by two tall maple trees, guarding the entrance to the circle.
Honoring Mister Butterfly’s kind request, I plopped down on my butt while he found a comfortable place on the top of my head to settle.
“The show will start momentarily,” he said, smiling down at me.
“Show? What show?”
He either didn’t hear my inquiry or had decided he wasn’t going to answer, I am not sure which. In any event, I was about to ask again when my thoughts were interrupted by several animals gathering around us. Soon, we were surrounded by a dray of squirrels, a colony or rabbits and a kaleidoscope of butterflies, not to mention sundry other varying assortments of wildlife.
A hush fell over the space. Several birds from a diverse range of species descended from the sky and perched on the edge of the fountain’s bowl.
Together we all sat with our attention focused solely on our avion friends, but nothing seemed to be happening. About to give up, I rose and was preparing to leave when a beautiful black and orange oriole began to sing the sweetest song. Moments later a couple of cardinals, a sparrow and a thrush joined in, each with their own lyrical quality, but together the differing notes merged to create the most delicate and delicious sound I have ever heard.
The song was so intoxicating that I soon found myself tapping my paw along with the rhythm. A quick glance about me revealed that I wasn’t the only one who had been drawn in. Just as I was about to burst into dance, the song died down into a barely audible aria.
A small wren broke in, her voice spilled out like a waterfall of notes until at last they settled into a haunting melody. My eyes widened and my mouth fell open in pure wonderment. The wren’s voice had reached into the deepest part of me, touching my heart in a way it had never been touched before. A tear had begun to form in the corner of my eye, which welled over and trickled down my cheek when I blinked. My breath caught in my throat, and my emotions were about to overwhelm me when the song ended as quickly as it had begun.
“Bravo! Bravo,” I jumped to my feet and barked from my spot under the shade trees. The wren blushed, then curtsied ever so gracefully before taking flight.
“Cindee, c’mon it’s time to go home,” Mommy’s voice echoed across the park.
I looked around to find the animals still in their places, their voices excited and all a buzz about the wren’s performance.
“Thank you, Mister Butterfly,” I said, grateful for the gift that he had given to me.
“You are quite welcome ma’am,” he responded congenially.
“Cindee,” Mommy called again, this time with more urgency.
“You best be going now,” the butterfly said.
“Right,” I answered, turning to trot towards Mommy’s voice and stopping after only a few steps to glance over my shoulder one last time.
The space was empty. No animals. No Mister Butterfly. Nothing. Had it been real or was I dreaming again?
With no solid answer, I began to hum the melody to myself before turning and jogging away, having decided real or not, this had been one unforgettable day!
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