On Guns and Butterflies

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I joined the guys on a trip to the gun range yesterday, where they planned to do a little target practice, then get in some sporting clay competition. This isn’t a place I know well; it’s definitely more Darren’s domain than mine. No matter, though, because any time Jake and Zack are involved in something, my interest is always piqued and I just love to be right in the middle of it (with the exception of chess…I just couldn’t do chess). My dad came along, too, to see what skills he might still have, some 50 years after his time in the Army (and decades after his last turkey shoot).

It was a beautiful, clear day in the hills, and the place was packed, mostly with men. Nothing new to me since I’m surrounded at home by boys, boys, boys! But, of course, it did cause me to think of my missing partner-in-crime, Mom. As much as I love family time and “all things boy,” Mom and I together were able to balance out the testosterone just a bit.

As my thoughts turned to the missing piece of our family puzzle, Zack pointed out a beautiful little orange butterfly lingering behind us while we took turns at target practice. Butterflies hold special meaning for me because a butterfly always seems to appear just when I miss Mom the most. It’s happened too many times, in too many uncanny ways, to mention here! My spirits were surely lifted when I saw this little beauty fluttering by! I imagined it was Mom joining in the fun, saying, “Don’t you worry, guys, I’m here, too!”

Throughout the morning, an occasional butterfly appeared as we went from station to station at the sporting clay course, taking turns shooting (or trying to shoot) the clays out of the sky. A gun aficionado since he was a young boy, Darren has always been an excellent shot, and the boys are pretty good, too! Daddy and I even broke a clay pigeon here and there…I just need to work on not closing my eyes when I pull the trigger. I think I will have the chance to practice; we all had fun and I’m sure we’ll go back.

As we prepared to leave for the day, I was drawn to a pretty purple bush, full of butterflies. When I moved closer to try to take a picture, they took flight and surrounded me, dancing and flittering all around! I was startled at first, but fought the urge to step away and cover my head. Instead, I just stood still and soaked in the final reminder of the morning that life goes on, and that when we are all together, Mom is with us, too.

It was a great day.

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