Saturday, 21 August 2010


There is a bench I visit most evenings, not far from my house, that boasts the sort of silence I have been craving lately; the sort that tempts and teases out worries, coaxing them into the open air. Tonight as I left it, a butterfly landed on the waistband of my skirt. Before I could tell her she was beautiful (and she was, daintily flaunting the curves of her papery wings), she flew off. It made me wonder how many people in the world find someone beautiful but haven't the time, nor the courage, nor, perhaps, the honesty to tell them so.

I am not sexist; I simply admire chivalry. I would like all the boys I know to turn to their girls one day soon and tell them of their beauty, as they see it every day. But I don't want them to stop there. I want them, then, to tell them of all their virtues; their imagination, their creativity, their intelligence, their wit. Because that is the thing: beauty, unless she is wed to something meaningful, is always superficial.*

I like to think that the butterfly today was not just beautiful in her aesthetics, in the way she waltzed, un-partnered, through the air, but also in her kindness. Her landing and the blushing of the sun on her wings was just a little reminder that everything will be okay.

*A quotation from The Secret History, by Donna Tartt. Read it.

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