Butterflies in the rain


Miracles happen. No, I’m not talking about the restoration of the internet, that’s still down, but I don’t like feeling angry and a comment from Marilyn at Serendipity reminded me that miracles do happen. And that set me thinking, following a stream of calm at the end of a stressful and upsetting day.

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They happen all the time, don’t they, the little miracles… the impossible things that are possible, somehow. Half the time we don’t even notice them. Yet all the time they are there; proof of a beauty and order beyond our imaginings.

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Science, of course, can explain them all. They are not miracles, they will tell you, citing thrust to weight ratios, the vibrationary frequency of a bee’s thorax and exploring surface tension and tensile strength. These are explanations in terms we understand, delivered with the authority of those who are certain of their knowledge but actually, all they are doing is describing what is happening. That, to me, is rather missing the point.


When I watch the eastern sky turn pink at sunset I want to marvel at the magic that paints itself on the heavens on the wrong side of the sky. The sun goes down in a blaze of glory in the west and is echoed on the dawn horizon in more delicate tones. Why is that? I do not need to hear about reflection and refraction… I want to wonder if perhaps the Painter of Skies was so much in love with colour that His hand strayed across the canvas. Maybe He laughed for pure joy and spilled the paint?

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Why is it that bumblebees were designed to fly in such an incredibly complex way? Were they an experiment? Was the Creator having one of those moments of idle doodling within the stuff of life?


Why do swans, the most graceful of creatures on the water and in the air look so ungainly when they land… that fleeting moment when earth and sky meet for them and they flounder between. Does it reflect that awkward, uncomfortable moment when we stand on the cusp of change? Was so much beauty given that this detail was overlooked… or does it prove that even in perfection there may be apparent flaws. Yet perfection cannot be other than …perfect. The flaws that are inherent cannot therefore be flaws. Perhaps that is what they teach.

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How can a blade of grass, fragile and tender split concrete? ‘And the meek shall inherit the earth’?… or perhaps it is perseverance.. that determination to succeed against the odds ants carrying loads so many times their own weight.

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And just how do butterflies fly in the rain when a single heavy drop should batter them to the ground? How, for that matter, do the tiny birds fly against the gale? And why do dragonflies, superlative creatures of air, spend their infancy in water? How, when you really look, can spider silk hold so much rain?

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Why are there fractals in everything? How can a tree … or a perfect rose…or a child be in a seed? How are emotions contagious and why do we reach for the stars? I was reminded yesterday of St Augustine’s reflections on happiness… a thing we all strive for, a thing, he avers we could not strive for unless we had known it. We do not seek what we do not know, he says… and there is truth in that for we could have no desire to reach for something utterly unknown. Does that not apply also to Love… and to the Light we think unknowable, and yet still seek in so many guises and by so many names?

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Maybe we too are butterflies in the rain, stronger than we think, more beautiful, more fragile; born from something less glorious that once crawled the earth before a dissolution that teaches us to fly. Perhaps the world around us is a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, full of clues that inform each other, and when we really understand it, we will be able to piece together the true picture?

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But if anyone can explain the duck-billed platypus, I don’t want to know. I prefer to think that the Creator was having a good day… and that He knew how to laugh.

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