Honeysuckles

Last Wednesday on my walk, the heady smell of honeysuckles perfumed the evening air. I found a vine, blossoming with delicate yellow and white flowers and snapped a small offshoot in half. I brought the fragrant and wild bouquet back to house.

I showed the honeysuckles to my son. He held one—a curling trumpet—in his small hand as I held one in mine.  

“First, you snip this end very gently.” I plucked the green cap at the bottom. “And you pull carefully.” I demonstrated pulling the long stamen out of the flower. “There’s a magic drip at the end that is sweet like honey,” I said. As I pulled, a tiny clear globe of nectar swelled. Before I pulled the stamen out completely, I placed the nectar drop on my tongue let the sweetness soak in.

My son, wide-eyed and enthusiastic, followed my instructions. “It’s delicious!” he confirmed and we went through each honeysuckle, finding the nectar.

One of my main objectives as a parent: I’m trying to show my son all the magic of the world with each natural discovery. A few weeks back, we had a butterfly kit, gifted by a neighbor. We observed as the larvae grew to caterpillars. The caterpillars spun cocoons. We watched and waited. Each morning for a week, my son would come downstairs first thing and check out the mesh cage. One morning, I heard him yell from the kitchen “Mom, there’s a butterfly!”

Sometimes I yearn to go back to childhood when each new discovery was magical—and I mean unicorn type of magical. Though I still stop for honeysuckles and delight in butterflies, they’re old news to me now. I’ve been here a long time. I’ve snipped honeysuckles for almost four decades. I’ve seen butterflies flit in the sky and often, I take it all for granted. The magic all around.

But now, as I write, a line from the Nicene Creed floats into my thoughts: Of all that is seen and unseen. From our butterfly kit, five emerged and we took the mesh cage outside and let them go. And when we picked honeysuckles, we made sure to leave some for the butterflies.

I think about writing. How sometimes ideas and thoughts float in from somewhere, I don’t know where. Creativity. The unseen. The grown-up version of unicorn magic. How I began this story as a journal entry about walking and collecting honeysuckles. How I had no idea what more I was going to write or where it would go. I gently pulled at the story line, carefully and followed the thread, much like the stamen from the flower. The magic drop appears, the story, the nectar. The butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, the new discovery, again and again. 

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