The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. ~Rabindranath Tagore
I had an amazing half hour this morning. As you may recall, we are in the south of France for a week long music festival. The classical concerts are held in small village churches and instead of taking the car back from rehearsal to our house this morning, I walked instead. Not far, about a half mile or so, and not too hot, yet.
Normally, when riding in a car everything along the road is a blur and my mind is more focused on driving than the countryside. Occasionally I glimpse a flash of colour and catch the movement of a bird or butterfly out of the corner of my eye, but mostly I don’t really “see” or experience anything. I am focused on the destination, definitely not the journey.
But this morning was different. As I walked down the country road towards our house there was life everywhere. Birds were moving about hunting for food in the bushes, a toad hopped across my path, beetles and insects were crawling in the verge, and then I came upon a row of Buddleja asiatica, known as the Butterfly Bush. It was alive with moving patches of airborne colour. I stopped and easily counted 6 different butterfly species, as well as two types of bumblebees and a moth that imitates a bumblebee. All my old entomology training in college came back to me and I stood for several minutes absorbing a dramatically different speed of life. Normally I move at warp speed as I go through my day traveling through airports, driving to client offices, facilitating workshops and planning sessions. Even my evenings are speeded up.
But this was life at “butterfly speed”. No deadlines, no worries, no missed appointments, no anxiety. Just going about the business that nature has programmed them to the internal time clock set by their DNA. I know enough about the butterfly lifecycle to know that their day has a built in cadence of activity during the cool periods, and rest in the shade during the heat of the day. I marvelled at how they follow their natural rhythms. My daily rhythm is anything but natural.
A while back two acquaintances of mine, Richard Carlson and Joe Bailey, wrote a wonderful book that quickly became a best seller. Slowing Down to the Speed of Life shows us how to simplify our life and at the same time be incredibly productive. A very good read which I highly recommend.
I wonder if they got the idea from watching butterflies!
John R Childress