Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

I parked the car as close to the house as I can listening to the voice in my head sneer, “It’s better to load you with, my dear.” I struggle to stack ONE more box into it. One more set of childhood photos, and drawings. One more heirloom punch bowl. One more antique secretary empty of the fantastic treasures it held in my childhood. I wish I could fit the Grandfather clock in the car too, but there is no way, even if I repacked everything. I have zero room.

Already, the long drive back to Texas, and the unload will take many hours. I look back at the house. The house I grew up in. Where I had many tea parties, birthday pool parties, and wild teen parties. The house where I saw my first car parked in the driveway. The place I would leave to explore. Across the street to the pond, among the big pine trees, or over the barbed-wire fence next door to Mr. Sliger’s pasture. I would dodge cow patties down to the river bed where I would find a big rock to sit on and pretend I was a girl in a storybook. But that was many, many years ago…..

Now, at forty-one years old, the cows are long gone, Mr. Sliger has passed away, and I am driving my Mom back to assisted living. I had to come here. I couldn’t just let it all go.

My brother said, “You better come get what you want before the house (and everything in it) sells. She doesn’t want to come home anymore.”

Earlier, when I told her where I was going, and she asked to come with me, I hesitated. I didn’t want to bring her here. I didn’t want to see her in her house with all the dogs gone, most of the rooms empty, and every cabinet cleared out. I wasn’t sure how she would react, but I needn’t have worried. This place is empty since her husband died, and her love of the things she kept for so long is no longer. This revelation is conflicting to me. I revel in sadness, gladness, and awe. I never imagined this day. But I am happy for it. And I am so glad she is not lonely anymore.

I look back. Just once more, and that is when I see it…….

I grab my camera. “I’ll just be a minute, Mom.”

“What are you doing?” She calls out. “Angie, we have to go. I have to get back. I can’t miss dinner.”

Her voice fades as I get closer and look through the viewer of my camera.

One solitary butterfly has landed on Mom’s butterfly bush.

One orange glimmer amidst the green and purple hues. It’s not hard to spot in the shadow of my childhood home.

I can’t help but click the shutter – just one last time.

My mom loves this garden. She labored many days over her plantings. Seems she was always making new garden beds. I wrote a post over a year ago (seems longer) Mother’s Garden. Her beautiful garden. So enchanting. So much part of her.

To see this butterfly bush grow from a small container plant to tree size…it reminded me of the past, and of the future.

My capture of it seemed a fitting good-bye.

But the magic is witnessing this lone butterfly.

Maybe it kept my heart in my chest. Maybe it spoke to me in a way that only nature can.

It’s not really good-bye…..is it?

Nothing can take the memories of home away.

Like the butterfly…life changes…it morphs…it grows…it becomes something beautiful.


It flies away.

So I go…..but I don’t forget.

As I enter the car, I pass my camera to my mom. “Did you get anything good?”

I display the screen with the orange butterfly alight on her bush and her breath catches. “Oh! That is beautiful. Can you make me a copy for my apartment?”

My heart smiles, “I can, Mom. No problem.”

I turn the car towards town. I take my mother home.

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. ~Author Unknown

See more of the weekly photo challenge by visiting The Daily Post

42 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

  1. I’m actually writing this with tears rolling down my cheeks. The words, the pictures – they gave me chills! Absolutely incredible writing!! This may be my most favorite post of yours so far – and I have a TON of favorites!! *hugs*


  2. laura@eljaygee

    what a terrible tearing away from your roots and and yet I know it’s better to alight and leave as lightly as the butterfly. A beautiful narrative – so well written. The beauty captured with your lens was the icing on the cake.


  3. Angelia, what a touching and heartfelt post! It actually made me a bit teary-eyed.

    “Like the butterfly…life changes…it morphs…it grows…it becomes something beautiful.”

    Beautiful analogy! You’re right…it absolutely does.

    Stunning photos. The colors are breathtaking!


  4. Pingback: Weekly photo Challenge: “Solitary” – To loneliness « Just another wake-up call

  5. What a lovely story about your childhood home and the memories made there. I actually had a lump in my throat as I read your reflections and looked at the pictures of your mom’s garden. beautiful stuff!


  6. This is such a poignant post. Your mom sounds like a wonderful and strong woman. It must be hard to let go and yet carrying the weight of the extraneous memories would be too much of a burden… She will love her butterfly photo!


  7. Beautiful, beautiful, beeeeeeeeaaaauuutiful post! Love this post so so much. Excellent narrative with so much warmth, I can feel my arms hugging my mom after showing her what she loves to see. And the pictures….pictures to be envy for. How I wish I can feature you again!


  8. I still have dreams of my childhood home. And actually, whenever I dream of “home,” it’s always that house. I still get sad thinking of it. Now, whenever I go home to visit my mom, I drive by the old house and remark on how much it’s changed – and how much we’ve all changed since moving away from it.

    Loved this post – really very touching! 🙂 Love the photos of the butterfly, too – so vibrant! And I didn’t know those bushes were called butterfly bushes – I have three in my back yard! How cool!


  9. Angelia, this time more than the pictures, your words touched my heart. You are an amazing photographer, so every time I visit your blog, I know some beautiful pictures are waiting in your blog for me. But this time, I somehow got bit emotional. I’ve been in such a similar phase in my life and it really hurts to see your roots are separating their path from you. But your mother is really a strong woman. Please make sure she is going to read these words of yours!! Excellent post! 🙂


  10. Beautiful – I just clicked through to see your blog and was blown away by the very first post I read. I absolutely adore the fifth butterfly picture (the profile and underwring capture) – that would be the one I would pick to hang on my wall.

    Hope your mum has many more years ahead of her.


  11. Oh how beautiful Angelia. I haven’t been over here in awhile and that was a beautiful one to return to. I remember that post about your mom’s garden.
    One of my favorite quotes right now is “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the Master calls a butterfly.” Richard Bach
    I am feeling slightly stuck in the ugly cocoon stage right now. Thanks for the reminder that it ends eventually!


  12. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary « Becca's Photo Blog

  13. Wonderful photos and story Angelia. Very reminiscent of the way I felt cleaning out my parents home after they died, sorting through the memorabilia of a lifetime. It was cathartic for me to write about it on my blog, and take photos on that last day. Thanks for stopping by my blog – otherwise I would not have found yours!


  14. Veronica Roth

    Sweet, sweet post Angelia. It’s amazing what we remember and hold dear. I remember selling a much loved home in the throws of a divorce and walking thru the emptied house thinking I can walk away now, the spirit is gone. Good for you to hold yourself together and being able to focus in such a difficult time. (hugs)


  15. You are an inspiration and gifted in so many ways…how you reach into the very soul with simplicity and beauty. Thank you, Angelia.
    As I always want to do…wish you abundant blessings and peace from above. xoxo


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  17. vastlycurious.com

    One day , we will all be your Mom, sweet woman , we need to remember this daily. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and LOVELY pictures!!


  18. And the beat of a Butterfly’s wing can change everything forever… A very touching post with some beautiful photos. Thank you for passing by – glad you did because it brought me to your blog 🙂


  19. Pingback: #179 « The Sophomore Slump

  20. I found your blog through the Sophomore Slump and read this most touching of posts. We are dealing with parents we are aging and do not want to move from their home of many years so this tugged on my heartstrings. So beautifully written and your photography is amazing. 🙂


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