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What Is It About Butterflies? And My Magical Encounter With One Deep In The Georgia Woods.

What is it about butterflies that we’re so attracted to? Certainly they symbolize rebirth and new starts with the cocoon metaphor, but I think it’s more than this. There’s just such a happy and playful feeling that comes from watching a butterfly dance on the air in swirls and pirouettes!

I once had a special butterfly experience deep in the Georgia woods.

This butterfly interaction happened years ago when I rented a cottage deep – and I mean way deep – in the woods near Georgia’s coast for two weeks. It was going to be time just for me, and I got what I had searched for – remote and quiet.

It took most of a day to drive there from south Florida, and I made sure to arrive in the daylight hours since it seemed like it would be challenging to find.

That is a serious understatement. “Challenging” does not come close!

The owners (who lived in another state) had given me good directions, though, so I kept making my way according to what they’d provided.

And I kept driving deeper and deeper into what I can only describe as “away from everything land.”

I remember coming up on a couple of acres full of goats roaming around (not fenced or penned in, by the way) with no one and nothing else in sight, and it was at this point I really started to second guess my getaway selection for vacation. A handful of them approached my vehicle as I slowly drove through them. Can wild goats bite your tires?

Mind you, before I’d left Florida I already had learned FedEx did not deliver to the cottage since it was so remote. And yet, the allure of peace and quiet in a home with its own dock on a river seemed like a perfect place to unwind with my camera and books, so on I went.

That afternoon looking for the cottage, I drove further and further into the (wild goats and all) woods (it’s not like there was much of a way out anyway since I’d paid for two weeks) – until I finally got to the smaller dirt road off the bigger dirt road and turned at the large tree on the corner. And soon, I was there!

Fortunately, the cottage was as nice as the online pictures and descriptions had indicated, and while this was a great relief, it also was one of the most desolate places I’d ever seen. I started to get nervous about staying there for two weeks. What if I needed help? Would only the wild goats hear me? And what or who lived out here in this kind of location?

In case you’re wondering, there indeed was electricity and most of the modern conveniences in the cottage except for anything to communicate with the outside world. (There was no landline phone or WiFi.) The cell service was spotty at best, and as I unpacked my SUV and brought everything inside, I was getting more and more apprehensive about where I’d landed. By choice.

I’m getting to the butterfly part soon …

At this point, it was about an hour before sunset and I told myself I would NOT give in to my fears and mental images of the dramatic classic “Deliverance” set in rural Georgia. If you don’t know this reference, all I can say is don’t watch the movie alone – no matter where you live.

Water and being on water is everything for me – living, vacationing, daydreaming, everything – so I decided to walk down the wooded back yard to the dock as a way of calming myself and seeing more of the beautiful setting I’d chosen. It was pretty, true, but there was not another person, house, or even goat anywhere around, and I felt like I’d walked into the starring role of a scary movie (a la that same “Deliverance” mention)!

As I stood on the wood dock and listened to the sound of absolutely no sound whatsoever, I could feel my racing heart pounding through my chest. This had not been my wisest move to come here alone, and I was scared senseless.

About this time, a large orange butterfly flew up to me and – I do not lie – landed squarely on my chest right on top of my pounding heart. It was a beautiful butterfly – deep orange with intricate black markings – and it felt like a miracle was happening before my eyes as I looked down at it.

I stayed very still so as to not disturb it resting on my beating heart, which was slowing down by the second. And after about 20 seconds, having done its work and calmed me down, the orange butterfly took off on the wind and I never saw it again.

What happened? Why? Could it hear my pounding heart? Was it a guardian angel? Seriously, what just happened?? I had no answers, but it was a mystical moment that might happen to you once in a lifetime.

And, since that time, whenever I see butterflies, I think of that special encounter with the butterfly on my chest.

The two weeks in the woods were wonderful – I got over my initial fears and enjoyed every day of my time there. And it all started with a magical moment on that dock with a mysterious orange creature just after I arrived.

This post by The Daily Artisan includes various photographs of butterflies I’ve taken, although I don’t have a photo of the “I never-will-forget-you, orange beauty” in the Georgia woods.

Something earlier got me thinking about the magical butterfly soothing my pounding heart, and it made me want to post butterfly photos today – and tell the story of why!

Do you enjoy watching butterflies? For what reasons? Please comment below!

February 22, 2022



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