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"Swatting Butterflies"

I look out our front windows every day 
and see more beauty then I deserve. 
Across our little paved lane, 
there is a park, 
or more accurately, a small forest with a mowed lawn. 

There are lots of trees and flowers. 
The trees include oaks, pines, pineapple palms, 
and royal palms. 
I think thatís what they call those tall thin ones 
with the burst of fronds at the topÖ 
like fireworks. 

I donít know the names of all the flowers and butterflies. 
If it gets any prettier 
Iíll have to get some spray-on butterfly repellent. 

On the other hand, 
weíre approaching the height of the hurricane season. 
The sixteenth tropical storm of this year 
is lurking off the coast here, 
looking at us funny. 
We got three direct hits last year, 
and had to evacuate each time. 
Fun for the whole family. 

Iím just squirrelly enough to miss the snow and cold, 
along with autumn and spring. 
Florida is no place for a Buffalo kid. 
We have summer all year 
punctuated by frequent and violent storms. 
This is the lightning center of the world, 
next to Indiaís rain forests. 

If there were any noticeable tradition here, 
they would immediately pave it over. 
They tear down fine old buildings 
to build condos, water parks, car dealerships, 
and convention centers. 
Florida is America's southernmost mall. 

Most of the people here are not from here. 
Like me. 
Many of us have never become acclimated. 

Buffalo has had its problems, 
but it has retained its soul. 
I think that's what I miss most. 
Maybe someday weíll go back, 
but right now I have to go out and swat butterflies. 

Copyright © Sept. 7, 2005 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.


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