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  • Katie Newbaum

The Butterfly Migration

Over the last few weeks, something like a billion Painted Lady butterflies have begun their journey from Mexico to the Pacific Northwest. Southern California has been inundated with waves of fluttering magic in the interim.  For some reason, it’s an unusually high amount migrating this year and people are in awe all over the state. Especially me.


A couple of weeks ago I had a phone interview.  I had seen a job posting that caught my eye - a performing arts center I hadn’t yet heard of in Washington, which brought me to their website, which brought me to a different job posting - one that really got my attention.  After discussing it with my husband, we decided to take a leap and go for it.


The first round of interviews went really well.  I was driving and thinking about possibilities and noticed a few large bugs flying around my windshield.  And then I saw a few more. I began to catch on and realized they were not large bugs, but in fact, really small butterflies.  “Hi mom!” - I said out loud like I often do to these lovely creatures - they were her favorite as they are mine. And then for the next mile or so I saw about 350 more.  “Okay mom, easy does it.”


Second round came soon after and things started to get real the morning of that Skype interview.  I walked out my door feeling really proud of myself for swinging for the fences. No matter what happened next I knew I took a big risk and I was brave.  As I took a step outside a dozen butterflies swirled my body and I ducked as one beelined for my face. My mother was never a subtle woman. I got the job.


As things now solidify and fall into place for the big move, I notice the Painted Ladies everywhere.  They flew through my backyard as we squared away the apartment. They seemed to grow larger as they followed me walking the dog around the track this weekend.  They danced through the St. Patrick’s Day wedding of a dear friend from high school - Mom making her presence known to all of us that knew her Irish heart.


Losing my mother was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through.  Seeing her in butterflies isn’t enough. But it’s always so nice to be reminded she is not far.  She is the angel, the mama, the hope, the drive, the momentum, the movement, and the butterfly in my life.  Always.


And now we fly to the Pacific Northwest for the next journey.  





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