A million tiny butterflies

My husband and I bought our first home a few months before we were married. I was 23, he was 25. At the time it seemed like a huge leap, even at only $89,000. But we were ready, and it was the perfect fit.

It was a charming, doll-like Victorian, very small, with only two tiny bedrooms at the top of a narrow, but steep staircase. There was one bathroom, and a country kitchen, that was a later addition to the original brick structure and that moonlighted as our mudroom. Completely renovated inside, I feel in love with its potential from  the moment I saw it.  

It sat quietly on a corner lot in the town I was raised in, the front entrance flanked by several massive, and elegant maple trees. I would relax in our bedroom, listening to the gently waving branches of those maple trees tickling the window, with leaves fluttering and chattering in the wind. Because the trees were so huge, they didn’t let in much light during the summer months, so our room was a cool, quiet oasis.

Soon after we bought it, we punched out a wall in the kitchen and added a patio, where we later spent many summer nights lounging idly in each other’s company, watching the comings and goings of the neighbourhood, worrying about nothing other than the next cool drink.

I often think of that house with such fondness. It was an easy, happy time in our lives.

After we sold it, and built our second and then third house, a sadness settled inside. I’ve missed it, and the feelings I remember from that time. For four years our lives held such promise, and for a very long time after I couldn’t recreate that happiness.


We were all home yesterday. The day quickly shaped up to hold nothing at all, just idle inactivity.

I settled onto the sofa in our family rec room, and turned up my iPod on a new surround system my husband had just hooked up. As I lay relaxing and listening to some of my favourite music, my mind wandered comfortably from thought to thought. I don’t do that very often anymore, just sit and think whatever comes to mind.

As I did, I gazed out the window at the trees blowing gently in the wind. Though I couldn’t hear the rustle of leaves over the drumming beat, I could imagine it. As I did, I felt my heart explode into a million tiny butterflies, releasing a sense of well-being and utter calm.



18 thoughts on “A million tiny butterflies

  1. Lindsey says:

    Lovely. I imagine your nostalgia for that house has something to do with memories of that time in life, and I know I share that feeling. I’m glad you were able to sit and just be for a moment, an activity that’s sorely missing in this particular life moment! xox

  2. alita says:

    An oasis of easy going memories is just what you needed obviously. A great connect to the past within the present. It is important to reflect and not recreate. It is lovely to remember memories from the past that move us and thank you for sharing those cool comfortable thoughts. The imagery was delightful!


  3. A million tiny butterflies? That’s gorgeous. I’m glad you were still enough to see them.

  4. Chantal says:

    That is so beautiful Christine! I am glad you had that feeling. Hold on to it for the not so relaxing times. I have been craving that feeling for a long time as well. Kev and I chatted last night after driving back through the country from our cottage weekend. Man if we could find a place in the country that could work for us we would love to swing it. Maybe some day.

  5. Cathy says:

    Those moments where you can be transported back in time to a feeling, and a million little butterflies, beautiful. It sounds calming, peaceful, restful.

  6. Such a lovely post, Christine. I especially love the image of the butterflies. I’m big into butterflies lately – something about their fragility and beauty really speaks to me at this moment.

  7. Beautiful Christine. And I am so glad you got to experience this. It’s one of those ordinary moments, but the way you describe it, the feeling of a million tiny butterflies is something I can visualize.

  8. ShannonL says:

    Wow, that was just gorgeous, Christine! Such a beautiful description. And I remember that house – it was certainly warm and cozy with a lot of character. And life was so much easier at that time, wasn’t it? Here’s to more moments of calm with sweet memories, my friend. xo

  9. Kate says:

    I have an ache for my first home too, the ease and simplicity of life in it, at least early on. I was still fairly newlywed when we moved in, and felt the awe of the promise it held.
    I miss the big windows and the flowers that peeked in. I miss the glowing oak floors that creaked just so. But I think it’s that sense of being at the beginning I miss more.
    I adore butterflies. They literally surrounded me several times as I was pregnant with my second girl. And the image of simple yet profound happiness you paint is beautiful.

    • Christine says:

      Kate! I never thought of it like this, that it’s missing being at the beginning. I think it’s that exactly and I appreciate having a reason for it. It helps me understand that happiness, versus this new, but different happiness. Thank you!

  10. Kelly says:

    Beautiful memories and images. Those butterflies have always been there, just waiting for you to settle into stillness long enough for them to fly free.

  11. Amber says:

    The imagery you evoke with this is beautiful. I think about all of us as we mourn certain pieces of our lives we have left behind–care-free teenage years, college days, pre-kid relationship, etc–but once we begin to settle into our new roles, we feel those butterflies burst out of our hearts.

  12. denise says:

    Heart exploding into a million tiny butterflies. Oh my friend this is exquisite, glorious imagery. So glad you had that quiet time. So glad you’re listening to your body’s response to the lovely space you’ve given it. xoxoxo

  13. That line about your heart exploding into a million tiny butterflies is worthy of immortality. It would be a best-selling Hallmark card, and I mean that only in the best way. Meanwhile, your longing for your first home reminded me of when I lived in an apartment and couldn’t stop longing for a wooden screen door that would bang closed…memories of the house where I grew up. (Now I have my own screen door, but it’s metal and has an air thingy that keeps it from banging.) You are doing some lovely summertime thinking and writing.

  14. Jane says:

    You took me back to our first home. Time seemed so much simpler then. And you so beautifully took me there. Thank you.

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