A butterfly caught my eye. It fluttered and dropped, fluttered and dropped, fluttered... and...dropped. Then, as if home, it landed on his nose. Curious and cross-eyed, Nicodemus looked up, sneezed, then smiled at me.
I thought nothing of the butterfly. Pretty, but nothing out of the ordinary. But because this particular butterfly was so insistent at flying in close circles around us, I couldn’t help but observe its unusual markings—brownish-black in color, a red-orange band across its left wing, and a huge white dot on its opposite side. Unique for a Red Admiral.
I had recently moved to Baltimore and was lonesome without a pet. It was a time when new beginnings and revitalized hope were welcome. On this early morning in May, the birds were chirping, and the smell of spring filled the air. Vast acres of rolling hills glistened with dew. The trees were lush. The flowers, brilliant.
I never felt better. I was adopting a dog.
My decision was made. Nicodemus was soon to become my first dog (“Rescue Dogs: A First Second” page 7, 9). He wasn’t even mine yet, and he welcomed me with a wagging tail. So, I welcomed him with open arms.
During the adoption process I would visit Nicodemus. Taken by surprise, I noticed this butterfly at each visit. It seemed to be waiting just for us. With closer inspection, I observed identical markings. How peculiar it would be if it was the same butterfly.
Certainly there must be more than one of its kind.
While surrounded by other needy animals at the Baltimore Humane Society, I sought out the magical butterfly. It was nowhere to be found. The butterfly appeared only with Nicodemus—my own one of a kind.
I diverted my attention from the butterfly, and focused on my herding dog that was trying so hard to woo me over. After all, I was adopting a dog, not a butterfly. I suppose this butterfly was part of the package. I laughed it off as a coincidence, and not a “miracle” from above, and continued filing my application. Even so, it was that specific butterfly that made my adoption process so riveting.
Finally, after days of waiting for this shelter puppy, we drove home together. Nicodemus with inquisitive ears, me with a skip in my step. His head turned every which way,
and his ears joggled with the bumps in the road. Our car whistled out tunes of
Louie Armstrong, and I felt like dancing. ‘What A Wonderful World’ it really was.
I remember feeling proud at the thought of caring for my own dog.
Nicodemus’s wet nose smashed up against the window crevice, and his innocent tail furiously pounded against the back seat. We pulled up outside my apartment, and I opened the car door to our new life.
As I introduced him to an unfamiliar world with me, I unlocked the entrance, and forever unlocked my heart to Nicodemus. ‘Nica’ was twirling, spinning, and chasing his tail. He chomped at the air, jumped higher, and squeaked with excitement. He was busy. I was thankful.
I gazed way up in the clear blue sky. Puffs of clouds seemed a zillion miles above the horizon. But, with Nicodemus, I was two notches higher than Cloud 9.
Then all at once, yet like a ticklish whisper, I felt something brush up against my cheek. It was our butterfly—exact same colors; gorgeous brown, an orange strike, and one white dot. As it flipped and floated, I watched as it made its way closer to my dog’s snout. Its graceful wings fluttered to the beat of my heart. It eventually settled on our windowsill, remarkably still. I held my breath, as if that would keep our friend here forever. Then, as if it caught me staring at it in utter astonishment, our butterfly took rapid flight, and whisked away.
It is said that a butterfly is symbolic of new life. I am convinced the butterfly we saw that day was our forever symbol. It was a one of a kind. And if it wasn’t, It sure wanted me to believe that it was. I speculate that this butterfly is now my reminder of love, life, and renewed hope.
To this day, when I’m filled with happiness, and I feel like dancing, wouldn’t you know it, if I don’t spot a butterfly.
Christina Bournias resides in Michigan with her 3-pack; three new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christina champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.
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March, 2013: American Pet Magazine | V2 Issue2, Page 42,43