Elaine & Michael Palencia just returned from a Caribbean cruise. The highlight, Elaine says, was “…a butterfly farm, held together by spit and window screens by two eccentric Englishmen.” 
That reminded me of our butterflies in Mason City, IA, where we lived from 1998-2002, and where grandson Joe and Helen became cancer survivors.
Helen and I walked along a tree-lined pathway that few others used, because it dead-ended. Most folks prefer to walk in a circle rather than double-back. They don’t like to see the same scenery twice. We have always, however, liked the paths others don’t use.
One day we started down the pathway and were suddenly joined by thousands of large tropically-colored butterflies. They came out of the trees and formed a canopy over us and escorted us to the end of the path. Apparently they didn’t mind doing the double-back, because they escorted us back to the beginning of the pathway, where they returned to their trees.
This happened a second day, and then a third. On the fourth day, they were gone, apparently having rested up enough to continue their migration. We didn’t walk that path anymore. We missed those butterflies too much. Once you have had an escort canopy of butterflies, and then they are gone…
We still miss our butterflies. But in the cold and snow of winter, it’s good to remember walking the unused paths, where the butterflies make memories.
 Elaine is the best short-story writer anywhere. Check out her BRIER COUNTRY or SMALL CAUCASIAN WOMAN. [http://www.elainepalencia.com/works.htm]