It wasn’t a monarch, but it was a deep shade of yellow with black markings, and graceful as it fluttered in and out of a ragged patch of ground cover. Normally, I wouldn’t notice a butterfly, nor give it more than a passing glance. I’m always in too much of a hurry.
For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, I turned and walked back, and gazed as the elegant creature flit about, seemingly undisturbed by the passing of humans and the sound of traffic.
I hoped that if I stood very still and extended my arm, it might dare to approach and then to light. How many of us remember doing this as a child, and the pure pleasure when a moth or ladybug or even a monarch would come settle for a moment on the hand?
Thinking I didn’t have the time to pull out my phone and try to take a picture — surely the butterfly would disappear before I could — I nonetheless reached into my pocket and performed the swish and tap that is so familiar to us now, attempting to capture the moment.
The result was less than ideal — a matter of my position relative to the sun and the backdrop of “real life” presenting insufficient contrast. I changed the setting to video and managed a few seconds that garnered a better outcome than anticipated.
Then I stopped trying to “capture” anything and just enjoyed watching.
The real surprise, I tell myself as I’m walking back to my car, is that I turned to appreciate the butterfly at all. In so doing, I realize that I have more energy today than usual, and greater attentiveness to my surroundings. I attribute both to a little bit more sleep than is my norm.
Having set myself some definitive sleep habit goals a week ago — and not the first time — I am sticking to my guns, but without significant success. This has been a source of discouragement, and as two nights of roughly four and a half hours of sleep left me physically depleted during this past week, particularly as I still needed to push through my long work days, I was relieved to wake this morning after six hours of restful sleep.
For me, six hours is a very good night.
I have yet to fully unlock the secret of more sleep — I will continue to tinker with times for walking not to mention managing stress levels, which I clearly recognize get me going and keep me going into the night despite my best intentions to create a quiet space and a regular hour for winding down. I have also added this to the mix: One day a week, I turn off the laptop and tuck it away. While I remain “accessible” on my phone, the act of stashing my computer means that I disconnect from doing work in a more active way.
I can monitor what I need to, but feel far less compelled to dive into the next item(s) on my list unless there is an urgent need.
Will this assist in improving my sleep?
That’s hard for me to say and it is far too soon, besides. I do think it may help my often irritable mood.
In the meantime, I will appreciate those mornings (and subsequently, the afternoons and evenings that follow) when I benefit from the very obvious advantages of a decent amount of zzzs, including the ability to stop — and if not to smell the roses — to soak up the beauty of a lone butterfly in the midst of its merry dance.
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