Brenda pulled into a parking spot near the ranger station. She glanced over at her best friend Lauren and turned off the engine. She knew Lauren was having second thoughts about climbing Pinnacle Point, otherwise known as “The Point.”
At least Lauren wore the orange shirt she gave her for the trip. Lauren liked the shirt but thought it was too cute for a nature hike.
“Come on, woman,” Brenda said. She leaned back and grabbed her backpack from the backseat.
“Do you really think this is a good idea?” Lauren asked.
“Yes. Stop stalling.”
“Just looking at the top makes me want a cigarette.”
“Well, stop looking at it then. Your smoking days are over, Missy.”
“I know but it still stresses me out.”
"Today is a stress-free day."
Lauren stepped out of the car and glanced at her engagement ring.
“Well, I guess my maid-of-honor wouldn’t put me in harm’s way.” She said
“Of course I wouldn’t. Let’s go already.”
They started up the trail and walked at a good pace. Lauren discussed her wedding plans and the anxiety from quitting cigarettes and dealing with her parents. Brenda listened and smiled. The more Lauren talked, the more oxygen she was breathing in her precious lungs.
When they reached the top of the point, Brenda was surprised that she didn't have to beg Lauren to climb the rest of the way. She was just a bit winded. As they walked around the top of The Point, they were greeted with crisp mountain air and the scent of honeysuckle.
“This is absolutely beautiful!” Lauren said, inhaling the sweet fragrance.
“That is why I wanted to show it to you,” Brenda said as she set down her backpack and pulled out her digital camera.
“I’m glad you did.”
“I need to show you one more thing.”
“I don’t know if I could take anything else.”
“Just wait and see,” Brenda said. “Stand right here,” Brenda walked Lauren over near two large honeysuckle bushes.
“It is so easy to breathe up here. I should have quit smoking years ago.”
“Music to my ears,” Brenda said. “In a minute, you're going to see something really cool.”
“Just hold on. In the meantime, just think back on when quitting cigarettes was really hard . . . you really wanted quit and I was right there to support you . . . now, I want you to relax a bit and soak it in . . . so, take a deep breath and look up.”
Lauren looked up in time to see several large orange and black monarch butterflies flying above her head. Their wings fluttered rapidly as they gathered around her in a graceful circle. She stretched out her arms and laughed as she felt the tickle of butterfly wings against her skin. Brenda snapped photos with her digital camera before the butterflies flew to the next bush. Lauren’s shirt matched perfectly with the color of the butterflies.
“Are they always up here?”
“No, but they come around this time every year. That is why I wanted you to see them today.”
“Take a picture of us,” Lauren suggested.
Brenda stood beside Lauren and as they both looked up, the butterflies flew around them. Brenda took several photos.
Lauren took a deep breath and gave her friend a big hug.
“This has been great, Brenda. Thanks for bringing me up here.”
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