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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)

TITLE: Seasonal Surprises
By Loren T. Lowery
09/11/07


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On a hillside overlooking the Cimarron Valley in Oklahoma, seventy year-old Scoot Jackson watched the funeral procession of black cars wind down Butterfly Ridge.

“Are you going to be okay, Dad?” his son, Wade asked.

“I’ll be fine. You go on down with the others. I want to spend a little more time with your mother.”

“You proposed to her up here, didn’t you?”

Scoot smiled wistfully, gently caressing a book he was carrying. “Forty years ago, on a day like today. The valley was filled with butterflies.”

“She loved butterflies.”

“She did. It’s one reason I proposed to her up here.”

“You sure you’re going to be okay?”

“I’ll be fine. I’ll follow the path down to the house and be along in an hour or so.”

Placing a hand on his father's shoulder, Wade left. Scoot watched him drive away and then made his way to the spot he had pledged his eternal love to his wife; and where, a year later, he had given her the book he now held tightly to his chest.

Amid knee-high wildflowers, he found an area as familiar to him as the touch of his wife’s hand and sat down.

Over this landscape, he heard a voice, faint, melodic.

'Red and yellow and pink and green.'

A gust of dry wind pulled the sound away, blending it with the whisk of air racing through the branches of a near by oak

Scoot cocked his head. “Amanda?”

'Purple and orange, and blue.'

He strained to hear, but there was no answer. He settled back, squinting out across the valley deep with the graceful movement of butterflies.

'I can sing a rainbow...' the voice teased.

Shadows cast by the flowers danced on the canvass of the hill. Running his fingers over the glossy cover of the book, he opened it, remembering:

“Oh, Scoot, you shouldn’t have.” Amanda opened the book, reading the inscription:

“To Amanda on our first wedding anniversary - You call them winged rainbows, these butterflies. May this book always serve to remind you of the joy their colors bring you. Eternally yours, Scoot. ”

Amanda closed the cover, tears misting her eyes. “Oh, Scoot, I love you so.” She took his hand. “They are you know.”

“Are what?”

“Winged rainbows - seasonal surprises”

“I envy you, the way you find happiness in the simplest of things.”

She glanced over the valley. “God surprises us with gifts everyday. All we need do is look.” Resting on a blanket and she came to her knees. “Think about the first autumn leaf and how its color can lift your heart. Or the first snowfall and how it can bring such peace to the soul.”

“My sweet bard of the valley, shall we ever lack for surprises?”

“I believe we’re all poets inside. Seeing and describing the world with the words God puts in our hearts.” Placing hands to hips, she said, “And so are you. Do you have a pen?”

He pulled a pen from his vest and she took it, opening the book. “From this day forward, we will write down how God surprises us and fifty years from now we’ll read it to see how richly blessed our lives have been.”

“I…I don’t know, Amanda. I can’t think of anything.”

“But you must.” She paused to write 'Seasonal Surprises' beneath his inscription. “Surely, you can think of something of how God surprises you.”

“Well, maybe how I'm startled by the stars when the clouds part on stormy nights.”

“Perfect. That will be our first entry.” She handed him the book and he began to write. When he finished, he handed it back to her.

When she read his entry, she gasped, fresh tears of surprise filled her eyes.

A butterfly landed on the book, bringing him from his revere. They hadn’t had fifty years, only forty, but the entries overflowed, so much in fact, that loose-leaf pages had been added.

He mulled over them, tracing his fingers over the neat floral script of Amanda’s hand. Pulling a pen from his vest, he placed three dashes beside his very first entry and wrote:

'Amanda’s love for me --- and now forty years later, our abiding love and this book and the joy it has restored in me.'

He closed the cover and walked down the path to his home. A lone butterfly trailed above him, and his heart hummed to the flutter of its wings…

“‘(We) can sing a rainbow through.’”

_______________________________________

“I Can Sing A Rainbow” words and lyrics by Arthur Hamilton


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This article has been read 866 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry09/13/07
This is beautiful. A real love story told very well. Lovely descriptions, too.
Very nicely done.
Sherry Wendling09/14/07
Beautifully done! I loved the butterfly theme throughout, and the way you painted Amanda as so alive in his memories, his heart, and in eternity. This echoes the walk of a dear departed friend of mine (who also loved butterflies!) and the way God worked to comfort the godly husband she left behind. Great job!
Joanne Sher 09/14/07
You have painted a marvelous, delicate, sweet portrait with your words. I will never look at a butterfly the same again. Love how you wove the song and the butterfly images throughout. Masterfully done.
Pamela Kliewer09/14/07
Your characters leaped off the page and into my heart. What a beautiful love story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/14/07
I loved this love story painted like the butterfly, beautifully.
Laurie Walker09/15/07
What a beautifully uplifting tribute. You handled the telling so well, I didn't leave feeling saddened by his loss, only hopeful through his treasure.
Linda Watson Owen09/17/07
Your poetic prose is such a delight...so like the beauty of the butterflies! This is a wonderful story that touches the heart and soul. Love your style!
Pat Guy 09/17/07
This indeed is a beautiful story in prose. I loved your word selections that came alive. I too, will never look at a bitterfly the same again.

I do have one suggestion I'm not sure about, but, I was wondering if there should be an extra space between the present story and the reminesent part of the story. The first transition was fine but I stumbled over the second.

Just a very minor point in a beautiful piece - I loved it.
Sharlyn Guthrie09/17/07
You made me belive that if a guy named "Scoot" can write poetry, anyone can. :- )

Beautiful words and images.
Catrina Bradley 09/17/07
Oh, sweet! My heart aches. Wonderful wonderful.
Dee Yoder 09/18/07
Beautiful love story. The characters are very real and lovingly portrayed. The song startled me and brought back my own set of memories. When I was a mere 17 year old, I sang this song with three other girls at my high school Spring concert in 19...uh...something! (We wore dresses that matched the colors in the song. Imagine that-DRESSES!) The memories you wrote about in your story are as sweet as the ones I have from that concert.
Patty Wysong09/18/07
Beautiful and vibrant with a bit of wisdom tucked in. Absolutely excellent.
Patty Wysong09/18/07
Beautiful and vibrant with a bit of wisdom tucked in. Absolutely excellent.
Beth LaBuff 09/19/07
Ditto to "a beautiful love story"! It's refreshing to read about love that has grown and matured in contrast to today's relationships. I've never heard the song mentioned (I think I'll google it.) GREAT writing!
Jacquelyn Horne09/19/07
Oh! So touching. Well written piece.
Linda Roth09/20/07
Beautifully written! I could “see” every moment of it. I was concerned that the man might not leave, but join his love that every moment.