Butterflies in Winter

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This morning a hawk soaring high overhead, the air crisp and cold, sky blue, the ground bare of snow. Last week, a short drive south, a brief tropical interlude in a warm, lush greenhouse, butterflies all around at the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens.

Along Route 5, in the midst of frozen farm fields, an unassuming garden center greenhouse with a mini tropical zoo – birds and lizards in cages, a small koi pond – and thousands of butterflies flying free and sipping delicately on cocktails. An hour of wandering quietly in the warm and moist air, flowers in bloom, hummingbirds in flight, chrysalis on display – a colorful and welcome break from the mid-winter browns, hats and mittens left behind in the car. A short sit-down on a bench to absorb the warmth and colors, a butterfly landing on my boot, a reminder to check carefully for hitch-hikers when exiting through the double-entry doors and heading out into the cold again.

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