Thursday, December 20, 2012

No. 532 – Up From the Skies

Performer: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Songwriter: Jimi Hendrix
Original Release: Axis: Bold As Love
Year: 1967
Definitive Version: None

The back yard was one of my favorite features of my house. It was the thing that sold me on it, in fact, and after we moved in, it was a place where Debbie and I spent a lot of time.

After we bought our dining set and chairs, we had dinner out on the deck all the time. It didn’t necessarily have to be a dinner that came from the grill either. As long as the weather was nice, we’d dine outside and sit until the sun set and the wine was all gone.

Debbie and I would open the window from the rec room so we could hear the stereo on the deck, and I made a mix tape of tunes that I thought fit in perfectly with the ideal of a lazy summer evening before nightfall. This was the lead-off track on that tape.

We had plenty of entertainment. We’d watch the birds and the squirrels, the chippunk that lived under the deck and maybe the ducks, back when they came to visit. At dusk, the bunnies would start to come out. It was, as I’ve mentioned, quite a menagerie.

One evening, I saw one of the coolest things I ever saw. My vantage point was out from the house to the northwest to the back and into Berke’s yard, and I saw the sunlight catch a leaf that floated down from one of the tall trees in the back.

I first noticed the leaf high up in the air. It was bright yellow, and it floated slowly without a flutter, like most leaves do, turning occasionally in a different direction, falling flat like a bubble. By the time it reached the halfway point to the ground, I realized that it wasn’t a leaf. It was a butterfly.

I’d never seen a butterfly soar, with nary a flap. But it rode the breeze and sunlight, finally coming away from the trees and soaring between the homes, before circling back, still without a single visible flap of the wings. It landed amid the patch of black-eyed susans we had by the power line junction.

The whole descent and landing probably took no more than the 3-minute length of this song, but it seemed longer, and I could have watched it all evening. It was one of those things you happen to notice at the right moment, and it stays with you—well, it does me anyway. I don’t remember what wine we drank that night, but it had to have been good.

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