Let a Butterfly Be Your Guide

By Sandy Dale

It was a coolish, late July morning. I wanted to get my walk in before it warmed up so I picked up my “Dog Whisperer” as my friend Rudl calls his walking stick, and headed out. (I’ve never needed to use my “Dog Whisperer” because the dogs I meet on my walks are always dutifully trotting along at the end of their masters’ leashes.)

I like to start my walk in the neighborhood close to downtown. I’m not a marathon walker, just a stroller. This morning I had decided to stroll by the Bell Tower Arts Center and see the new tile mosaic on the front foundation of the building. The mural sparkled after last night’s rain, so I took a few pictures and then sat on the swing in the front garden of the art center admiring the cosmos and the huge sunflowers. Then I spotted a beautiful yellow butterfly checking out the scarlet blossoms on the butterfly bush. (I’m not a lepidopterist so I’ll have to go with “yellow butterfly.”) He flitted from blossom to blossom then past me toward downtown. I decided to follow him. He winged his way along about three feet above the sidewalk as if he knew I was following. I tried to get a picture of him as he stopped to examine a hollyhock growing near the sidewalk, but I only succeeded in getting a photo of where he had been.

The butterfly turned west down Main Street. I followed. The stores weren’t open yet. It was still pretty early. My yellow winged friend stopped in front of the Blue Heron Gallery and checked out the fabulous hanging basket of flowers. He apparently didn’t find what he was looking for so he ventured on down the block. We came to the stoplight at the corner and (believe it or not) he fluttered around until the light changed. Then he, with me following, headed back up the block on the other side of the street to flit among the morning glories in front of the Antique Warehouse. Still, he didn’t seem to find just the right blossom so back along the sidewalk we went to the next block.

Now, as I said, I don’t know much about butterflies, but I’d say he was shopping. He didn’t seem bothered in the least by my tagging along. Then he spotted the mammoth dahlias in front of the Mezzanine. He perused several blossoms and then settled on a delightful lavender one. He closed his wings over his back and had apparently found what he was looking for. My friend Skip (who works at the Mezz, as we call it) came out to water all the flowers in front of the store and we chatted. I kept my eye on the butterfly still ensconced on the dahlia.

It was definitely time for me to get to work as the stores opened and what I call the traffic picked up. I thought about the lovely shopping experience I had had with the butterfly as I walked home. I don’t think I know of anywhere else but Florence a person could have such a beautiful, peaceful time looking for just the right thing and with a butterfly for a guide. Just imagine…
Whatever you’re looking for – you can find it in Florence.

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