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Butterfly Ranger


She placed the cold metallic binocular rings to her cheeks and let her eyes slowly adjust to the lenses. The metal was cold because the air was cold outside, and the binoculars had laid where she had left them last night, on the hood of her truck, as she snuck down to the creek to wash off the trail dust. She had slept there, creekside, and awakened before dawn, dew covered and alert, ready to continue her work on the trails and paths of the park. The sound she heard which eased her awake wasn’t so much a humming or even a flapping,  but a soft flutter, as if a novel had been sitting on a table by an open window, its cover open,  and its pages flapping listlessly when the breeze picked up and darted through the room. As she inched back toward the truck, away from the creek, the sound seemed to undulate on the wind, and as she kept her head turned in that direction she glided by the truck, absently grabbing the binoculars as she went. She pulled on her coat and waited for the warming light of dawn to paint the sky in oranges and pinks and illuminate her surroundings. What was that sound. She continued to affix her eyes to the sky, and there, suddenly, small dots began to appear. At first they were a fuzzy sprinkling of dots, like pepper on a pale plate. Then, they grew, and soon, became a swarm, a soft origami hurricane with rounded edges and moving in brilliant candy colored chaos. The butterflies and moths filled the sky like leaves on a fall wind and moved just as quickly. They made their way in a multicolored migration to her, over her, through her, and as she stood and laughed she made sure to cover her mouth so they wouldn’t fly in. She closed her eyes now, and the sound was everything, everywhere, the soft flapping of one million of mother natures eyelashes, the delicate butterfly ballet.  They rushed past in a giant swarm of tiny wings and tiny legs and tiny tickling antennae. And then, as quickly as it started, the sound disappeared. She opened her eyes. She saw no butterflies, no moths; heard no sounds, save the rippling of the creek below and the dripping of the dew from the trucks bumper. She glanced around and wondered if it was just a dream. Then, looking down, a ray of light caught a fold in her jacket and illuminated the soft outline of a lepidopteran form. This was no decal, no embroidred applique. The butterfly shapes were woven into the cloth. She ran her fingers over the silken insects, seeming to glisten and glow in the now broken daylight. Turning back to her truck, she smiled to herself, placed her binoculars on the seat, and somewhat perplexed and bemused, she giggled as she placed her hat on her head and started the engine.