Today I set out to photograph some wildflowers that I’ve seen on my run on the road where I live. It is a little country road—barely enough room for two cars to pass—so there aren’t many places to park. I decided to park in the grass near a neighbor’s house that was about 1/8 of a mile from the flowers I planned to photograph. Just as I started to walk to the spot where the flowers were growing on a bank, I glanced over to my right and was startled to notice hundreds of butterflies in the wildflowers and weeds growing between the road and the woods. I spent an hour glued in that one spot taking over 200 photographs, soaking up the gorgeous weather (70 degrees and low humidity–we live for fall here in Georgia!), and reveling in the magic and beauty of the butterflies drunk on nectar and sunshine. To suddenly be in such close proximity to these butterflies, whom I have always considered ethereal, elusive envoys of nature—it was an unexpected and unplanned experience of pure unadulterated joy.
As I left the spot to get in my car and return home, it occurred to me that sometimes we find joy and magic where we least expect it or in a place we didn’t think to look. As librarians and teachers, we are all about laying out strategic plans, goals, and projects with specific details. However, this golden hour today reminded me that while having a plan or specific goal is a positive thing, being open to discovery and dwelling in “other” spaces can often lead us to insights and new focal points for our work that relate to our overarching mission. I set out to do one specific task looking to photograph one aspect of nature, but instead, I wandered into something else that while different, was equally beautiful and in some ways, more meaningful. As I continue my work as a librarian, I hope I’ll keep this memory close and remember to keep my eyes open to all possibilities, not just the ones I originally envisioned for myself.
I’ve included a few photos in the slideshow below of today’s experience–enjoy!