A Camper’s Words

Nine-year old Flora White is a born storyteller. She wrote a poem entitled, “The Butterfly in Winter,” and gave a copy to each of her fellow campers prior to this weekend’s first performance of Then I Stood Up: A Civil Rights Cycle.

Here are her lovely words.

The Butterfly in Winter
By Flora White
Dedicated to Chaka Forman and Maya Angelou

The butterfly dances in a river of blood in winter.
I watch as the garden in which she used to flutter fills up with white downy drift of hate. I will not make it home in time for supper, as the flakes block my view and the drift is very deep. My coat fell off two miles back. I yearn to run and get it, but it is midnight before I reach my warm, toasty shack.

It’s not long until my eyes can hardly keep open against the bitter cold. So I unconsciously fall asleep at the root of a maple tree of liberty to the sound of fierce wind howling. Sticky sap drips o my numbed finders. I use the sap and tree to build my boat of hope as I sail on a sky of love over stars of freedom. The stars sing to me a lullaby of hope. I drink up every word of great wisdom.

I wake up to the sound of doves trilling a beautiful song of joy. I did not remember a thing. This made me angry at myself for forgetting the words of intelligence. But then I remembered something that made me smile. The shining candles of the sky had told me, “Many of the great artists of the past would not be remembered for their genius if it weren’t for mankind’s woes.” Suddenly everything was clear as glass. That was the bird’s trill. That was the butterfly’s thrill. That was my knitted cap. That was the old tree sap.

I ran home at the speed of light. A light of compassion. The thick snow of hate slowly melted to a river of love under my feet. Mama was waiting for me at the door. We were both overcome by happiness. Squirrels and owls put their hibernation to a pause to view the wonderful scene. The sun was rising. Purple, pink and red clouds hovered over snowcapped mountains. Behind those mountains, was hope and faith for change? We are the change. Change is our future.

Remember: The butterfly dances in a river of blood in winter, but the butterfly plays in a garden of love in spring.

Stay tuned for more opera camp highlights!

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