Saturday, February 11, 2017

Las Mariposas

It was, for me, a pilgrimage of sorts.

That sentence came to me weeks before I was riding curvy mountain, Mexican roads in the wee hours of the morning trying to keep my guts inside. And I knew I had to write it.

It began at 4AM on a Saturday morning in Guadalajara, Mexico.
A three hour car ride to a hotel in Morelia to meet a Mexican man with his van.
A long ride through the Mexican mountains.
A different state. Dangerous roads.
Peppermint oil. Peppermint gum. Front seat. Eyes forward. Car sickness spared none.
Seven-ish hours later, only to begin an hour-isa hike around noon.
Stepped into the cold, thin mountain air.
An endless staircase into the sky. The trees helping us breathe on the way.

All to see the butterflies.

(Finally sort of getting there...)

Millions upon millions of the pretty little things. Hanging from the tallest trees in shadowy, heavy clusters. Dancing between branches. Flittering their painted wings against the gray-blue sky.

(It's hard to tell, but all of the dark clusters are butterflies hanging in the trees!)

(Staircases in the sky. What. A. Hike.)

I guess I made the journey for myself. But mostly for my daddy. One of his field guides in my floral backpack all the way up.

(My sweet friend making sure my hair was in order (after an extra long morning) for a once in a lifetime photo with my daddy's field guide amongst the migrated monarchs. Thankful for friends who knew how important this was for me and shared the moment with me :) 

I'm not one of those people who "feels" my dad watching or around me or whatever. But here is an exception.
Here, he is everywhere.
His smile. His passion. His laughter. HIs inner photographer.
I can see so clearly his facial expressions. Feel his excitement.
I wish we could have seen it together. That at least we could have spent hours sifting through the photos together. But this adventure, for whatever reason, was meant to be lived and had without him.

So here I breathe in the bright blue butterfly air and remember him so fondly. So much of who I am because he lived. Because he shared who he was and all he loved most with us.

(Everyone around me started freaking out because one of them landed on me...freaking out in Spanish and in whispers that is...)

(Here's where we ended up. It was pretty magical...I won't lie. Until his little prickly feet made their way into my eye....)

(I'm certain green and yellow will always be my favorite. Life and light.)

*If I've learned anything from losing my daddy and anything from butterflies, it's got to be this. "hands open." It's not mine anyways. It's ALL material for sacrifice. #notetoself

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