This Moment

 

I love this song by John Bucchino.

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I thought of it often as I was carrying boxes from my sister’s apartment in Laguna Niguel, CA to a 16′ Penske moving truck parked about 100 feet from her front door.

A monarch butterfly would appear every few hours — flapping from flower to flower before drifting away on a gentle breeze.

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And I would find myself singing this song.

I don’t know what inspired John to write it, although I am guessing that he must have some sort of meditation practice.

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I first heard it sung at the Yale Cabaret Conference I participated in many years ago… and immediately wanted to learn it.

I practiced the lyrics over and over again one summer as I walked up and down a sandy path through a scrub pine forest en route to Head of the Meadow beach in North Truro, MA.

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Pianist Doug Hammer and I have performed it several times since then (that’s Doug playing in the recording at the beginning of this blog post), and Mike Callahan did an arrangement which I got to perform with him as part of a Timberlane Pops Orchestra concert in New Hampshire.

It is a perfect example to me of a “wisdom song” — which helps me to re-align with my better, wiser self whenever I sing it.

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Writing this post inspired me to search on Pixabay for some butterfly images, and I was astounded by what I found.

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The idea that earthbound caterpillars can transform themselves into winged butterflies — that they can literally dissolve themselves and re-form their molecules into a new type of being — has fascinated and inspired us human beings for millennia.

Cocoons

I am also inspired by the paths they take — paths which do not travel in a straight line from point A to point B yet manage to cover vast amounts of mileage none-the-less.

Butterflies have a inner sense of where they are headed, but they also follow and respond to whatever flowers and breezes appear along their journey.

This seems to be how I, too, am moving through my musical life here on planet earth.

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I looked online to learn more about the current health of our butterfly populations.

First I was directed to a relatively new company called “Butterfly Health” that seems to specialize in adult diapers…

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Then I found a lovely story about vineyards in eastern Washington which “stopped using harmful pesticides and created natural habitats with native shrub-steppe plants around the vineyards to keep out harmful insects (e.g., mealybugs) and attract beneficial insects (e.g., parasitic wasps) that feed on pests.”

These vineyard saw a significant increase in butterflies — from an average of five different species to more like twenty different species!

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The article noted that “butterflies don’t protect the vineyards or provide wine growers with economical benefits, (but) they are pollinators and an important element of the ecosystem. Furthermore, having butterflies flutter around a vineyard increases its aesthetic appeal and provides proof of earth-friendly pest control practices.”

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Amen.

I also found articles that were more discouraging, such as one in the great English newspaper, The Guardian.

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It reports that “more than three-quarters of Britain’s 59 butterfly species have declined over the last 40 years, with particularly dramatic declines for once common farmland species such as the Essex Skipper and Small Heath…

‘This is the final warning bell,’ said Chris Packham, Butterfly Conservation vice-president, calling for urgent research to identify the causes for the disappearance of butterflies from ordinary farmland. ‘If butterflies are going down like this, what’s happening to our grasshoppers, our beetles, our solitary bees? If butterflies are in trouble, rest assured everything else is.'”

Deep breath in.

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Deep breath out.

What, I continue to wonder, will it take for enough of us human beings to wake up and take significant actions so that the extraordinary species extinction we are now experiencing on planet earth can slow down…and maybe even stop?

Why are so many of us seemingly oblivious to what is happening to our ecosystems and unable/unwilling to make wiser choices?

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I recently visited a friend’s house (his/her second home, actually) and saw a small vat of RoundUp that I assume s/he is using to take care (??) of weeds in his/her lovely garden.

It was sitting alongside an aerosol can of pesticide to kill wasps.

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This is an extremely well-educated person who loves the views of nature from his/her home overlooking a beautiful river.

Yet s/he is completely oblivious to the increasingly well-documented scientific research linking herbicides and pesticides to all sorts of profound disruptions in the overall health of a wide variety of ecosystems. And disruptions to our own human metabolisms — since we human beings are deeply rooted in nature from an evolutionary perspective and share many of the same biological pathways/systems as our animal and plant cousins..

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I know that beautifully photographed and persuasively written advertising messages from the makers of herbicides and pesticides contribute to our human ignorance..

And lots of us think, “Oh it’s just a little bit of RoundUp or a little bit of wasp spray…”

But it all adds up and takes a cumulative toll on a wide variety of plants and animals and bacteria and fungae which we dearly need to be functioning in balance with each other.

Another deep breath in.

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And another deep breath out.

Thank you to Pixabay for these wonderful photographs of butterflies.

Thank you to Doug Hammer and John Bucchino for their tremendous musicality and songwriting expertise.

And thank YOU for reading and listening to another blog post.

What steps — small and/or not-so-small — have you taken in your life to help keep life in balance here on planet earth?

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12 thoughts on “This Moment

  1. You’ve done it again Will, a mesmerizing combination of words, images and music. We never use any toxic substances inside or out; first because we don’t want or pets/ creatures harmed, and secondly (and equally important) we to stop poisoning our world. We have noticed an abundance of butterflies on our property; they seem to share the nectars produced by our flowering mimosas with the hummingbirds and thrive.🦋🌻🌎

  2. Another lovely post and song. The pictures are wonderful, too. I’m in RI, where I see Monarchs and Swallowtails, but the rare Regal Fritillary is gone. When the butterfly expert says, “If butterflies are in trouble, rest assured everything else is,” I’m startled. Isn’t “rest assured” a phrase meant to be comforting? (I don’t use herbicides or pesticides anymore.)

    • Yes. I am not sure what the balance is — maybe it is ever-changing! — between a peaceful acceptance of the moment and courageous action to respond non-violently and respectfully but also forcefully to the injustices and crimes of the world. But I am pretty sure there needs to be time for peaceful/heartful reflection — which then can inform and guide whatever actions we are brave enough to decide to do…

  3. Thanks for this lovely interlude, Will. Just this morning I was watching a honeybee working the blossoms on a volunteer oregano plant that decided to live in a crack in the concrete beneath an air conditioner. Condensation dripping from the A/C keeps it moist.
    I’m spending some time listening to some of your other musical gifts. Thank you!

    • That is a GREAT image, Walter. Life can be tenacious and full of surprises. A volunteer oregano plant growing in a crack in the concrete (which we humans love to use to pave over and attempt to control mother nature) getting water from the condensation drip from an air conditioner! Bravo, volunteer oregano plant. And thank you, Walter, for reading and listening. Stephen and I were savoring the photos from your military days (and your comments about same) earlier this week…

  4. As I listened, I could picture the words on paper, as it really sounded like a poem to me. Your and Doug’s interpretation is so crisp and lovely.

    Thanks for allowing me a glimpse into your beautiful musical life!

    • THANK YOU for listening, Alice!!! I agree, the lyrics do feel like a poem. And the song touches upon the transience of everything – summer, butterflies, a human life, a given moment in time — so gently and with a kind of reverence. Hurrah for music!

      • Will – I just re-listened to “this moment.” The tears are flowing which is so therapeutic at this tough time for me and my family. I’m so happy I ran into you yesterday on the bike path. I told baby J and he was happy, too.

  5. I am very happy our paths crossed yesterday on the bike path, too. I am inspired/reassured when I meet someone else who uses pedal power on a regular basis. Since then I have also been thinking about the astounding and heartbreaking story you shared with me. Deep sigh… I am honored that you returned for another visit to my blog and found some solace. I will continue to hold you and J in my heart! I hope you have safe (though very sad) travels this weekend. Another deep sigh…

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