Jul 5

Butterflies and My Brideat Iguazu Falls

Curitiba, Brazil

“I’ve always wanted to go to Brazil!” My bride, JoAnn, of only several months, then offered, “Well, let’s go!” I had just found out that she had been a tour guide at the famous and largest falls in the world, Iguazu Falls. During one of her “escapes” from teaching, and taking a year’s leave of absence, she had explored numerous countries of South America. Running low on finances, she found a position teaching English to tour guides in Foz do Iguazu, near the famous falls. Rich English tourists convinced the tour company the need for an English speaking guide. She was hired. Lucky me, married to a tour guide! We had flown from Miami, stopping in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. What an amazing place – from the top of the 46 story Italia sky-scraper, I looked over 360 degrees of all white buildings, mostly apartment buildings. Big cities, however, are somewhat overwhelming to this country boy, so we took another air hop south to Iguazu country. It was difficult for me to stay in my seat and not jump through the plane’s window when I spotted the airport, Itaipu Dam and Iguazu Falls from the air, only a few miles apart. The city of Foz do Iguazu was about half way between. The area, known as “Tres Frontiers” is where the countries of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil meet, where the Iguazu and Parana rivers flow together.

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls, both known as the largest in the world, Itaipu at 8 kilometers, now is eclipsed by China’s Three Gorges Dam. Iguazu incorporates 275 separate falls, part on the Argentine side and part on the Brazil side of the Iguazu River.

My Snapshot Moment

On our first walk around the falls (both sides, 3 miles) JoAnn, ahead of me, down the trail, shouted, “Bill, look at this!” Taking pictures with my movie camera I later described that magic moment in the following poem:

Kissed by an Angel
Inching down the trail toward Iguazu Falls,
Each switchback revealed a new vista,
Another cascade of flashing red-brown water
Crashed hundreds of feet below into the chasm.
“Bill, look at this!”
Joey, 75 feet on the trail below,
Pointed to her bosom.
Barely discernible, a butterfly,
Dressed in its splendor of iridescent blues,
Browns and white trim
Perched on her breast, still as death.
Forward, slowly, the movie camera focused, I zoomed in.
Only feet away, still focused on this motionless marvel,
I stopped.
With wings a full five inches
It clung to the printed flower on Joey’s
Washington State T-shirt.
Was the butterfly just visiting Washington State?
Or just resting on that comfortable bit of anatomy?
To Joey’s delight the marvelous creature
Continued to pose for the camera.
Was this an angel in disguise?
Using its wings for balance, it remained perched.
More minutes passed, Joey beaming.
I captured her radiant smile on film
With the roaring waters of  falls an inspiring backdrop.
Beautiful gossamer wings began to wave,
And with a flutter of its decorated wings,
The apparition rose and disappeared into the mist,
Perhaps to visit and delight another lucky visitor.
Of course, I was the lucky visitor to be visited by two angels,
a beautiful butterfly and Joey, my guide and a love of my life, my wife.

For more on Bill’s adventures, please visit his blog: Land, Sea, and Air after 50 

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