© 2003 - 2024 Deborah Strod
A beautiful grayed Butterfly was flying past a synagogue and noticed beautiful stained glass windows. They reminded her of her own wings when they were colored, and she wondered if the person who built the synagogue had seen butterflies like her. So she went inside, and asked a gray moth if he knew the person who had built the synagogue and if perhaps the person had known butterflies. The moth just said, “Nope.” So she went in and found a gnat next. She asked the gnat the same question, and the gnat said yes, he knew the person who built the synagogue. He is very old and he lives nearby with his companion.
Then the gnat said, “Oh, you are very beautiful as a gray butterfly, aren’t you?”
The butterfly said, “Why thank you,” and then asked in second look surprise, “How did you know I used to be colorful?”
The gnat said, “I am so small that I can see things that other creatures can’t. I can see the gray in between the tiny drops of color on your wings. You have beautiful filigree on you, and I love a good design. Why don’t you go on over to the old man and see his other work?”
So the butterfly flew in the direction that the gnat told her, until she came to giant glass windows surrounding a second floor studio extending out from an old-fashioned house. As she flew, she saw an old man bent over a drafting table, making a picture.
He looked down at his paper for a long time and then looked up at some chimes outside the window, tilted his head and looked at the chimes for a long time, as if he were soaking them into his mind through his eyes. He smiled as the wind blew and the rainbow of seaglass in the center of the chimes nudged each of the chimes in turn, then jangled them all into a ribbon of music. He looked back down at his paper, sketching with a charcoal pencil and then reaching for frosted colors. He knew where each color was, so well that he didn’t even have to take his eyes off the page as he reached and picked the one he wanted.
All the while, the butterfly had flittered outside the window behind the man, and now she flew up to a railing and landed, silently watching the man and watching his drawing of the chimes. She could see the music on the page, as the frosted colors waved into the silvery chimes, and the dusting of leaves in the background showed the breeze which blew the seaglass. She was so entranced with the drawing that she didn’t notice that when the man next looked up, his gaze had shifted ever so slightly from the chimes. He was looking at her. He looked for a good while, and then, without looking away, he reached for a new piece of paper and started a second drawing right next to the first. His charcoal swayed across the page, but his eyes never left her.
He reached for a color and then turned his face to the sheet, bringing colors one by one and adding detail with his charcoal.
Then he looked to her one more time. This time, he lifted the new picture up and showed it to her. It was a beautiful, beautiful rendition of her in flight, wings outstretched in flying color, with a few of the leaves dusted in the background to show the breeze which lifted her in the picture. He smiled. He held the picture for her as she sat on the railing and looked and looked. Then she felt the breeze, as if it had gently flown from the picture through the window to raise her up and she stretched out her wings to catch its updraft. As she flew off, he turned the picture so that she could see it one last time, then waved and turned back to his chime picture. She flew off so happy, lifted by the breeze, and by his artistry and his kindness.
She came back many times to his railings to watch the way he saw the world, always remembering how he had seen her, and shown her herself.