Not to be considered as a contest submission
Maya lay prone on the grassy hillside, her chin cupped in both hands as she stared at the green chrysalis with its ring of golden dots suspended from
Her eyes looked beyond the miniature exoskeleton inches from her nose and saw instead the butterfly that would soon emerge to dry its wings in the
warm early summer air. She mused about how it would soon visit thousands of brilliant blooms, bobbing and weaving in a seemingly aimless flight across
the landscape. A delightful dancing pixie, delicate, yet strong, determined and yet fragile, it reminded Maya of herself.
She smiled at the thought and wondered if her fading childhood would mirror the life of this glorious insect. Would she be able to journey across a
continent like this wonder of nature, surviving high winds and downpours, predators and unseen dangers of all sorts?
Her village lay on the valley floor below, hidden by a thick forest of oak, tulip trees and maple now fully dressed in bright new green leaf. Her
father had worked at the sawmill until it had suddenly been closed. Now the once bustling town was growing silent as people moved away, one family
after the other, and she knew that the clock was ticking for her family too.
Maya closed her eyes, and, as she had done with the butterfly, saw herself caught in the fickle winds of fate. In her mind, she formed her father's
face oddly surrounded by an aura of the darkest purple, and noted the hopelessness written in the corners of his mouth, his eyes. Suddenly a flood of
love poured from her heart. Palpable as water, it flowed into the face of the man from whom so much had been given to her. The kindness and care was
returned a hundredfold in one moment of time... a mere instant and yet so powerful that the hillside grasses rustled unseen in the stream of its
Her body, so frail and thin, suddenly was filled with a strange new power and Maya's eyes snapped open at the strength and shock of it. Quickly she
rose, staring down at the tiny pupa trembling as it dangled from the plant. What had happened? Did the butterfly give her a gift
processed through its metamorphosis? Instinctively she sent a heartfelt thank you and, with only a moment of hesitation, ran down the hill toward her
Her young legs hardly touched the ground as she bolted through yards, across empty streets, the flowered gardens of her own front yard, dad's old
pickup truck in the gravelled driveway and finally, almost out of breath, up the steps to the back porch. Barging through the kitchen screen door, she
saw her father sitting at the table, a cup of tea halfway to his mouth. His eyes turned at her explosive entrance and pursed lips, ready for a sip,
changed to an immediate smile. His eyes sparkled with affection, and, setting the steaming cup carefully down, turned to her with open arms.
"Maya," he said, "I was just thinking of you, pumpkin!" A great toothy grin spread across his face as she flew into his embrace and hugged him.
"Dad, I...", she started to say, but her father cut her off.
"Maya, it's amazing, but I think everything is going to be fine. I just know it. It just hit me like a hammer, but I know it!"
She looked into his eyes and saw the joy in them. The promise of a new beginning and a burgeoning hope renewed.
"Yes, dad, I know." she said and kissed his cheek. Her thoughts turned once again to the butterfly in its tiny castle and the gift that had been
given her. Her mother, still at work at the grocery store, would be next for this wonder, she thought. Then the grocer. Then the grouchy old neighbour
two houses down. Then the RCMP officers at the police station, and on and on and on until she fills each soul with that rushing river of love.
The cold winds of late fall promise snow now, and the monarchs have long ago begun their journey from Northern Ontario to Mexico.
Maya sits at her computer and chats with her friends around the world. Her parents are in the woods with several other townfolk for the deer hunt and
she knows that sacrifices need to be made if they are to survive. In this cold climate, meat is not an option, it's a necessity. The Chippewa
families from the reservation lands nearby are helping those still left in the town and agreements had been worked out to mutual benefit. No longer
did any mistrust darken minds and a renewed friendship had blossomed. Neigbour trusted
neighbour and no door was closed against another.
Tapping at the keys, she reflected on how the town had changed. Empty houses were being bought by people who could never have afforded them before.
New families were bringing life back where all hope was once lost. The mill still stood empty and the sound of chainsaws were replaced by axes and
handsaws. The summer's harvest of backyard gardens filled shelves with preserves and refrigerators powered by wind turbines would sustain the rest.
Electricity was a luxury to be used sparingly, but most things still worked just fine.
On the screen in front of her, she wrote a message to a friend in Holland:
Maya: You must concentrate on the entirety of it. From larvae to caterpillar, from caterpillar to pupa and from pupa to butterfly. Think of it's
whole life and what it must do. Then close your eyes and see it in your mind.
Antonia: Does it have to be a butterfly?
Maya: No... any living animal will do. Just try to connect with it, whatever it is, and 'see' its whole life, its purpose and what it means to
Antonia: I can use my puppy?
Maya: Of course.
But you have to really try to understand your puppy. Close your eyes and see it when it is grown up and what it will give you in
return for your love and affection.
Antonia: Yes, I'll try.
Maya: You'll know when the deep indigo colours start to flow behind your closed eyelids. When you see that, you must send your feelings of love to
those you want to change into happy people.
Antonia: It works?
Maya: Yes, dear Antonia, it does. Close your eyes right now and I'll send you some.
(1 minute of silence passes)
Antonia: OMG!!! OMG!!!! OMG!!!