CRLC Challenge; Butterfly & Stone

I’ll tell you the January 7 prompt from Charli at Carrot Ranch, but as always it’s a real fine post that goes with it, worth clicking on over there. Okay, the prompt is, “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the contrasting prompts butterfly and stones. The two can be used in any way in your story. Go where the prompt leads!” Though butterflies are the more obvious symbol of reflective change, both butterflies and stones go through transformations. In my first response I revisited the Dillard essay entitled “Teaching a Stone To Talk”. In my second, I took advantage of the setting offered by this prompt and used it to visit with Marge and Ernest. You may recall that the gang built a Zen garden and a pagoda style she-shed for this couple to encourage their nuptials. (If you go to their page to catch up, you might want to scroll all the way down to “Archway”.) Either way, there’s more to this scene.


In “Teaching A Stone To Talk” Annie Dillard states that we’ve desecrated the groves and sacred places, “have moved from pantheism to pan-atheism”, and so “Nature’s silence is its one remark”; “The silence is all there is” and this silence is our own doing.

I wonder; who are we then, to presume to teach a stone to talk? We need to learn to listen!

It isn’t easy work; it requires great attention and practice. But the stone has much to say about patience, endurance, and transformation.

Look. A butterfly lands whisper-winged on a lichen-cloaked stone. Watch and learn. Listen.


“I’m glad it’s Nard in there, Ilene.”


“I’m glad you’re here with me. See Marge’s plants with all those butterflies on them? That’s my stomach.”

“Oh, Ernest. It’s all good. She’ll be out soon.”

From the stoop of the singlewide, Ernest looked across the river of stones of the Zen garden to the closed pocket door of the she-shed, while Ilene studied the butterflies adorning the buddleia and echinacea.

“Blue! Limenitis…? Ernest, have you ever seen anything so beautiful?”

Ernest was looking at Marge, finally emerging from the pagoda styled shed in a blue dress.

“No, not ever.”   

Limenitis arthemis astyanax

22 thoughts on “CRLC Challenge; Butterfly & Stone

    • They are very different, so no need to call a favorite, and thank you. I am glad if the M/E piece worked. A mere bit of a scene; there’s more for another time or place, but the prompt motivated the long awaited marriage. I do not enjoy weddings so have been dragging my feet worse than Marge.


  1. Love them both – the reflection of the first. I hadn’t thought of stones in quite that way before, but I see it now and how we need to listen.
    Marge and Ernest – such a couple, and Marge must look magnificent dressed in blue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ernest thinks so. Yep, the gang is all dressed up. The ceremony takes place in the Zen garden between the singlewide and the back of the garage where the she-shed is. Lloyd got ordained from some add in the back of Rolling Stone magazine and will marry them, say a few poetic words. They will go through the archway of spliced Japanese maples that the guys planted and go around to the two bay garage for the byocc (bring your own camp chair) party, where Ilene has a kiddie pool in the bed of her El Camino filled with ice and beer. One lift in the garage is up and garlanded, the other has a makeshift plywood platform for the band, a small local group. Nard, who helped Marge get ready in the she-shed, was her best man, and Ilene was Ernest’s maid of honor. That’s all I know.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Butterfly and Stones « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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