Male Orange-tip Butterfly

Three times a week I make the journey from home to the West Mid. I value the 1¼hr journey—the ½hr train journey and the walk either end. I am learning how to pray in this time. It is, notwithstanding, an unpleasant experience for me: I am surrounded by traffic, people and unremitting noise and it is difficult for me to “hear” God without silence. If “we are human only in contact, and conviviality, with what is not human,” then I am barely human on my way to work, when I am almost constantly surrounded only by people and the products of people.


This morning, as I walked past the local cemetery, I saw a male orange-tip butterfly sunning himself in a patch of bluebells. He was a gift.

At lunch-time I often go for a ½hr walk in the cemetery. Each day there is something new. Suddenly, today, the grass is too long and there are wildflowers among the tufts. The men from the parks department will come with strimmers soon and cut it all back, but today it is irrepressible. I sit on a pink-granite gravestone, the sun and the breeze at my back, and look at the green and the trees, which also have arrived into leaf. Some bugs fly past seemingly aimlessless but, no doubt, with life-and-death purpose. It reminds me of all that I loved about being a child, alone on nearby common land or in the woods, wandering aimlessly or fishing for newts. It reminds me that these flowers, these bugs and butterflies, these trees—they are my sisters and brothers, my friends.

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