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Perspective: Marking our days in sandbars and butterflies

Paula Garrett

On a not-so-distant September afternoon I enjoyed the company of a lone seagull. We were on a Lake Michigan beach where scattered sandbars had created multiple shorelines. Swimming, I had zigged zagged around them with the gnawing knowledge this could be the last lake swim of the year.

A friend recently asked me if I measure my life’s trajectory by my swims in various spots. He knows my preoccupation with the need to be immersed, and often asks me these kinds of questions. Ones that stimulate new thought patterns - a good workout for my brain synapses.

I thought back to my earliest watery memories - my backyard kiddie pool, swimming lessons at the community center, and our family vacations to Panama City. Water does seem to be a conduit to my childhood self.

All this led me to wondering how do we mark our time here on earth? By our family structures, our great loves - human and other? Our jobs, holidays, travel experiences, and as we age by those we’ve lost? Maybe we track our lives on a seasonal basis - by our gardens’ flora and fauna.

In the late afternoon on that mid-September beach day, a kaleidoscope of Monarch butterflies filled the sky - traveling south along Lake Michigan on their incredible journey to Mexico. What a life trajectory those little beauties make.

I’m Paula Garrett and that’s my perspective.

Paula Garrett is a transplanted Southerner and a former WNIJ Blues host. She's passionate about music, travel, research, open water swimming and film.