Florida Time Forgot

Long Live The Queen!

The Queen was flying but not well. She drifted over Lincoln Avenue near my home in Lehigh Acres, clearly being buffeted by heavy winds. Up, down, left and then right smack into the front grill of my two-ton pick-up. I checked the rearview mirror as I passed the point of impact. Did my truck really hit her? Or did she escape in time?

Then I saw a small motionless brown object on the hot grey pavement behind me. I had killed the fragile butterfly. So, itís just an insect, I reasoned. There are millions of them, trillions perhaps. They have no feeling, no sense of time and space. Theyíre just there. But the conscience that has been accused of being part of a bleeding heart unpatriotic liberal, quickly came to the rescue.

You could have just as easily been born a Queen butterfly, its voice reasoned. Consider the joy you have received over the years by watching the graceful wind dance of butterflies and all the wonderfully painted canvases they wave on either side of their tubular easels as they land gently on a flower.

What if the butterfly is still alive? What if it was only stunned? Shouldnít you go back and check on it before the next steel contraption smashes it into butter?

But Iím already a block away. Itís probably too late. And thereís no place to turn around with my long bed truck on such a narrow road.

Do it, came the bloodied liberal voice again. Just do it.

So I checked traffic before making a wide sweep off the right side of the road that only got me ľ the way turned. Back up, wheels right, lurch forward, wheels left, back upÖ

Once straightened out, I stomped on the gas and quickly accelerated to 30 mph before slowing again, my head stretched out the cab window like a long-neck giraffe, scanning the pavement for the brown spot. A half block ahead I could see another truck approaching. It was towing a large box trailer. Itís driver may not be thinking about a dead or injured butterfly.

Suddenly I saw it in the opposite lane, lying on its side, still motionless. I flipped on my emergency flashers, blocked my side of the road and leaped out of my cab.

As I ran up to the lifeless creature, I was met instead by a quick flip of its wings. It had righted itself and was standing on all 8 legs.

No, itís still alive? Wow! But before I could stoop low enough to pick it up, whoosh, the little beauty flew past me and vanished over some nearby bushes.

Had I not stopped, she still would have made it to safety unharmed. But had I not stopped, I would have been haunted by yet another opportunity to show we humans care about the mark we leave while passing through life.

Long live the Queen!