Bedding Crashers

No sooner does the garden party get underway than they show up, gorgeous creatures, first in line for the drinks, stealing the spotlight effortlessly. In no time at all they’re lurching drunkenly around the garden, gaily thrusting themselves against every beauty in the place.

I didn’t invite them. But, I’m always glad to see them arrive. Somehow, they make the party a party.

I’m not referring to Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, although I wouldn’t mind seeing them materialize in my garden beds either I suppose. But, really, what could we possibly have to talk about?

The butterflies who flock to my garden at this time of year, on the other hand, require no witty repartee or plunging decolletage to hold their interest. All they seem to care about is the phlox, the zinnias, and the butterfly bush.

I try to sit back and enjoy the show, savoring the way they flutter and mince about the blooms like bright young things at a fashionable cocktail party. But, for some perverse reason, I can only watch them for so long before my meter starts running and I hear the numbers ticking in my head.

I’m counting them again. One, two, four, six, seven, no, eight. The butterflies don’t care about my obsession with statistics. They don’t feel the need to hold still or remain in one place long enough for me to get a fix on the actual butterfly census. And I don’t know why I should care. But, there it is. One, three, six, seven. I can’t seem to stop myself from trying to quantify the ethereal beauty of the moment, as if somehow that number, whatever it is, will lock the beauty into place and I can relax, knowing I’ve got it and it won’t vanish.

But, of course it does. The guests grow weary, the buffet runs out of shrimp cocktail, the bartenders start clearing the tables. And the butterflies disappear, not to be seen again for another year.

So, I’m trying to enjoy the moment. Not obsess about how fragile and fleeting everything is. It’s fun while it lasts.

And maybe this year, by the time the last butterfly weaves over the horizon, the DVD of Wedding Crashers will be out and I can find diversion at the push of a button.

Not the same, of course. But we make do with what we have.