Butterfly Wings and Enchanted Trees

07-02 Monarch Butterfly

Charlotte stood behind as her dad and older brother ogled canons and war guns.  At eight, she didn’t share their fascination with the Smithsonian exhibit, but her dad felt a history lesson was the perfect patriotic way to spend the Fourth of July.  This year, she didn’t even care if she saw fireworks.

From the corner of her eye, Charlotte saw an orange blur.  A Monarch butterfly had landed on a nearby musket.  Intrigued, Charlotte inched toward it.  She glanced at her dad and brother.  They didn’t notice, so she moved closer.

The butterfly flitted down the hallway.  Charlotte followed.  It flew into an open elevator.  She paused.  She shrugged before stepping in after it.  The butterfly led her outside, onto Constitution Avenue.  She just knew the butterfly had a plan.  The excitement almost made her smile for the first time in three months.  Almost.

She wove through people on crowded sidewalks, not seeing anything except the Monarch.  At a corner, the “Don’t Walk” sign flashed.  Charlotte considered darting across anyway, but then noticed the butterfly hovered across the street.  As if waiting for her!

It could’ve been several blocks or over a mile, Charlotte didn’t know.  She gasped when the butterfly landed on a branch of the oddest tree she’d ever seen.  Sitting in the middle of a grassy park, the gnarled and knotted trunk supported a huge green canopy.

07-02 Enchanted Tree

“Charlotte,” the tree said with a rumbling voice.

She looked left, then right.  It had to be a joke because trees didn’t talk.  No one else seemed to hear.

The tree chuckled and it felt fluttery- like wind whooshing through leaves.  “Your mom is worried about you.”

Charlotte frowned.  “You don’t know anything.”

“She says you lost something.  She asked me to help you find it.”

The tree’s voice soothed, like her mom’s fingers through her hair.  She missed that.

“Follow Monarch.  Open your eyes and your heart,” the tree instructed.

Charlotte obeyed.  The butterfly led her to a patch of daisies- her mom’s favorite flower.  Just when tears formed in the corner of her eyes, the butterfly landed on her finger.  Charlotte laughed as its legs prickled her skin.

07-02 Daisies

A gusty breeze made the petals shake and thousands of tiny white fingers waved to her.  Charlotte smiled.

At once, she realized that she’d found what had been lost.

Charlotte couldn’t wait to celebrate with Fourth of July fireworks!


It seems I can’t resist a writing challenge- even for a genre that I don’t write 🙂  Nancy, at Spirit Lights the Way, did a post about a writing contest that Susanna Leonard Hill is hosting.  The Contest:  Write a children’s story, in poetry or prosemaximum 400 words about the 4th of July in which a secret is revealed or a mystery is solved!  Check out the link above to see complete guidelines and to read other submissions.

Surprise, surprise, I used exactly 400 words.  (I’ll explore my need to push limits some other time.)  I have no illusions of “winning,” but enjoyed writing something outside my usual box.    Thank  you to Susanna for hosting another fun writing contest.  And thank you for taking time to read my story.  I hope it provided some entertainment.

P.S.  All of the above photos were taken during our recent vacation to the Washington DC area.  As far as I know, the tree was not really enchanted.  And I’m pretty sure the butterfly kept flying away so I wouldn’t follow it- not with the intention of leading me somewhere!


61 thoughts on “Butterfly Wings and Enchanted Trees

  1. Eric Alagan July 2, 2013 / 11:03 PM

    What a touching story you’ve weaved, Janna – simply loved this 🙂

    Yes, Charlotte did find what she’d lost.

    A bit early but, Happy Fourth of July to her —- and to you 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:00 AM

      Thanks for the kind comment, Eric! I’m excited for the fourth – a friend is coming to visit for a couple days. (Which means, just as I’m starting to get caught up blog-wise, I’ll slip behind again!)

  2. Grannymar July 3, 2013 / 12:50 AM

    I love the idea of the butterfly easing a broken heart! Very touching.

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:00 AM

      Thanks, Grannymar. I appreciate you taking time to read and share your comment.

  3. Tina Cho July 3, 2013 / 2:45 AM

    I enjoyed the setting and how Charlotte found something she needed. Great photographs!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:03 AM

      Thanks so much for reading, Tina! The photos actually inspired the story.

  4. Iamjasminekyle July 3, 2013 / 5:01 AM

    OMG poor butterfly! That tree is LOVELY. Happy 4th!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:04 AM

      Thanks for stopping by, Jasmine! I hope your music is going well…I’ll stop by this weekend to see if you’ve posted recently 🙂

  5. nrhatch July 3, 2013 / 5:56 AM

    Yay! You played! Nature nurtures when we notice it . . . I’m glad Charlotte listened and allowed the butterfly to be her guide. 😀

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:06 AM

      Yes, I played, Nancy. Good thing I started reading the stories after I posted mine or I probably wouldn’t have bothered 🙂

  6. SuziCate July 3, 2013 / 6:37 AM

    You more than rose to the challenge-excellent!

  7. Debbie July 3, 2013 / 8:29 AM

    Lovely story, Janna. How brave you are to try another genre in public — and how happy we are that you succeeded at it! Maybe you should try your hand at more fantasy?!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:09 AM

      Well, after reading a few of the other stories, I’m certain I don’t stand a chance 🙂 My problem with fantasy is that my mind is too rooted in reality. It’s definitely my weak link, so it would probably help to stretch those muscles! Thanks for taking time to read this and share your thoughts, Debbie.

  8. vishalbheeroo July 3, 2013 / 9:15 AM

    sweet and touching story. We need to listen to our inner voice as it brings immense joy and happiness:)

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:10 AM

      True, Vishal. I appreciate you reading the story!

  9. Michael July 3, 2013 / 12:15 PM

    “As far as I know”, eh? So maybe it was enchanted. I am always on the lookout for enchanted trees. 😛

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:11 AM

      Hahaha! Maybe it was. I swear I see faces in the trunk, so maybe there was a voice, too, Michael!

  10. teresarobeson July 3, 2013 / 12:51 PM

    Butterflies are magical, and I’m glad one helped Charlotte cope with her sadness in a most magical way!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:13 AM

      Thanks for reading, Teresa! I adore butterflies, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write a story with one 🙂

  11. diannegray July 3, 2013 / 1:06 PM

    I love this story, Janna – and I’m sure that tree IS enchanted! 😀

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:13 AM

      Thanks so much, Dianne! An enchanted tree would be quite the find…

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill July 3, 2013 / 5:41 PM

    What a lovely, sweet story Janna! I love that the butterfly helped her find her smile. Your descriptions of the tree, and its chuckling, and the daisies are so well done – beautiful language. I’m so glad you found and entered the contest. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful story!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:18 AM

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, Susanna. I’m not done reading all of the submitted stories yet, but the ones I’ve read so far have been amazing!

  13. viviankirkfield July 3, 2013 / 6:38 PM

    Janna…a stellar story…so glad you read about the contest on Nancy’s post.:) I loved the magical aura of the story…and I’m so happy Charlotte’s mom’s spirit helped her daughter find her smile and the desire to enjoy life again.:)

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:23 AM

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Vivian! I appreciate you reading the story. I don’t generally write children’s stories so it was a fun exercise 🙂

      • viviankirkfield July 4, 2013 / 11:23 PM

        It was truly lovely, Janna…you should write more stories for little people.:)

        • jannatwrites July 7, 2013 / 1:55 AM

          Stretching those writing muscles would be a good thing…perhaps if the right inspiration strikes 🙂

  14. Cheryl Secomb July 3, 2013 / 7:19 PM

    This is such a beautiful story. Truly enchanting. I love the imagery and the imagination. Well done. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:24 AM

      Thanks, Cheryl! I really appreciate you taking time to read it.

  15. Lauri meyers July 3, 2013 / 7:41 PM

    I really enjoyed how you developed the setting. I felt like I was right there on the journey with her!

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 2:25 AM

      That is exactly what I hoped for, Lauri! Thank you for taking time to read and share your thoughts.

  16. GodGirl July 4, 2013 / 5:38 AM

    I love all the little moments of child-like wonder here Janna – wow! You really have a way of helping us see and feel details from the character’s point of view.

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2013 / 12:40 AM

      Thanks for taking time to read and share your thoughts on the story, God Girl! You made me smile 🙂

  17. Cathy C. Hall July 4, 2013 / 9:09 AM

    Great tree! And a lovely story with the butterfly leading your little protagonist back to her smile.

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2013 / 12:42 AM

      Thanks, Cathy! I’m glad you liked the tree and the story. I appreciate you stopping by to read it.

  18. Imelda July 4, 2013 / 11:22 AM

    Yay! Kudos to you for trying a new form. You did well. This story is engaging. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2013 / 12:44 AM

      Thanks for stopping by to read the story, Imelda!

  19. Pamela Courtney July 4, 2013 / 11:43 AM

    Beautiful, beautiful story! I can’t imagine that this isn’t your genre. Nevertheless, when skill and talent are present it shines not matter what. I fell in love with your words. Again, you write beautifully. So glad I stopped by.

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2013 / 12:49 AM

      Pamela, thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I’m glad you stopped by, and that you enjoyed the story!

  20. Robyn Campbell July 4, 2013 / 3:41 PM

    Oh wow, what a lovely story. Gosh, this is the kind of story that makes all writers wish they’d written it. You do a fantastic job of pulling us into the story.

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2013 / 12:51 AM

      Wow, Robyn…thanks! I appreciate you reading the story. I’m so glad you liked it

  21. Jarm Del Boccio July 5, 2013 / 10:05 AM

    Awwww. . .so touching, Janna! Thanks for sharing your story. Well done!

    • jannatwrites July 7, 2013 / 1:41 AM

      I appreciate you taking time to read it, Jarm. Thank you 🙂

  22. Laura Anne Miller July 5, 2013 / 3:00 PM

    Beautiful story. I love your descriptions and visualizations. Makes me want to read more. I loved the ‘thousands of tiny white fingers waving’. What kind of tree is that – it looks amazing!

    • jannatwrites July 7, 2013 / 1:44 AM

      Thanks for your kind words, Laura! The tree is a Paper Mulberry, and it is located at Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s estate.)

  23. Tina L. Hook (@TinaLaneBlogs) July 5, 2013 / 3:02 PM

    I’m always pleased to run into original imagery, and the flower petals and fingers did that for me here. Sweet story.

    • jannatwrites July 7, 2013 / 1:45 AM

      I’m glad you liked the imagery, Tina – thanks so much for reading!

    • jannatwrites July 7, 2013 / 1:45 AM

      Thanks, Julie! I’m often inspired to write stories from photos I’ve taken. Since I can’t draw that well, I figured this was the next best thing 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 7, 2013 / 1:46 AM

      Thank you, Pam! I appreciate you stopping by to read it 🙂

  24. pattyabr July 6, 2013 / 8:49 AM

    I was enchanted. I follow the butterflies in my garden too.

    • jannatwrites July 7, 2013 / 1:49 AM

      I’ve always adored butterflies, but I don’t see many around here. I’ve just planted a section of wildflowers in my yard, so I’m hoping it will entice some to visit. During our DC trip, I got several decent butterfly pics. I’m sure they will eventually find there way onto my blog 🙂 Thanks for reading the story, Patty – hope you had a nice fourth!

  25. Joanne Roberts July 6, 2013 / 9:06 AM

    Touching and unique. Thank-you for sharing your entry with us. I wonder if that is the same butterfly I saw in the Botanical Gardens last summer. Hmmm . . .

    • jannatwrites July 7, 2013 / 1:52 AM

      Thanks, Joanne! I’m glad you stopped by to read my story. It would be nice if the butterfly defied odds and lived that long 🙂

  26. Tessa July 13, 2013 / 11:08 AM

    Very nice story. Loved the pics too! 🙂

  27. Sandra July 17, 2013 / 12:25 PM

    Very nice, Janna! Lovely children’s story piece. I loved the pictures, too.

    • jannatwrites July 17, 2013 / 11:01 PM

      Thanks, Sandra! It was a fun little challenge. I’m glad you stopped by to read it 🙂

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