This time last year I was searching for a way to spend an afternoon in a world that was sodden by the first thaws of spring. A dear friend gushed over the rejuvenating potential of heading out to the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture park to view their indoor gardens and butterfly exhibit. As I could not hike, given the atrocious weather, I decided it was wise to see what the exhibit might have in store.
Any foliage fanatic or zealoutous zoo goer will be familiar with indoor gardens and their stifling humidity that is all too welcome a midst tumultuous season shifts. I breathed deep the must of moisture laden air that could only be resultant of tropical flora and saw before me a small world of hope, rather than the gray skies and soggy sod of the earth outside. Butterflies flitted from plant to plant in a maddening chaos that spun me into a dizzying fit of mirth I was all too glad to be ailed by.
All the while, however, I secretly hoped to be there with someone. You see, weeks before I had asked, via social media, if anyone would possibly like to make the trek to the butterfly bizarre with me. One young woman, whom I had not spoken with in some time took the opportunity to tell me that she adored Butterflies and would love to accompany me. Only one problem; she lived two hours away and only might be able to make it to Grand Rapids if she were able to take part in a robotics competition(she was a volunteer for the local robotics team in Ortonville, MI at the time). Whatever intangible thing that it may have been, though I believe it was her smile, led me to feel that this woman and I were meant to be with one another, and it burdened my impatience that I might have to wait so long to see her again.
Back to the Gardens. It was on the day that I journeyed to see butterflies that the young woman knew whether or not she would be able to make it to Grand Rapids. Of Course, she wouldn’t be making the trip. Is it not curious, the feeling of your heart sinking while all around you is basked in a glow of general elation? Though I find it equally interesting, the human capacity to immediately meet with adversity and boldly charge into places unknown if only to say that we tried to best our situations’ circumstance. Bolstered by the beauty of my surroundings, I chose to respond to here in a way that led to a dialogue beginning between the two of us. It was not long after that that we had our first date.
It is now a year later, she is my fiance(her name is Amanda by the way), and I find myself again at the Gardens a midst the throngs of people who seek to escape winter by previewing spring. Butterflies are just now emerging from their chrysalis, and the obvious metaphor for my and her life smacks me on the face like a be-grieved mother; here, as the doldrums of winter begin to wane, Life emerges anew. It will never cease to amaze me that the past year of my life owes its roots to a friend “telling” me to get to Gardens to see some butterflies. Amanda and I owe our happiness, love, future, and friendship to that recommendation.