My Patronus Is a Butterfly

I’ve spent a good deal of time indoors with the snow and freezing rain.

I finally became social again on Saturday.

Four other friends and I gathered for piping ramen bowls and lantern lights in Columbus.

Carpooling from Athens, we caught up on Christmas revelry and New Year’s intentions. One friend is looking for love. Another is caring for her dad. Someone else just returned from a few weeks in the San Diego heat. All of us hope to see more live music. We want adventure this year.

We arrive at Meshikou. It’s appears to be a hole in the wall. Dark shaded windows. No fanfare. But inside, the interior is chic and modern. Wooden beams, a sleek bar, and bright autumn tones. It’s cozy.

Our ice water comes in glass mason jars with cucumber slices. A handsome waiter serves us a tureen of salted edamame pods. My friend encourages me to get a Fireball in my ramen bowl for extra spice. Maybe next time?

I order the “Veggy Miso Ramen” with kikurage mushrooms and braised tofu in fermented soybean curd broth, topped with scallions, corn, marinated bamboo strips, and Chinese kale. It warms the soul and no drop goes to waste. I add more chili. Next time I’ll aim for a Fireball.

We’re full and awakened by the blast of the East coast winter wind chill as we make the short drive to the Chinese Lantern Festival.

We meetup with more friends of a friend, then start walking the brilliantly illuminated trails. Twirling dancers on lighted pedestals, red lanterns, Christmas trees, lotus flowers and koi. The flash and pulse of the lights feels almost warming to our barely bundled digits. Bitterly cold, but beautiful.

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I’m entranced by the butterflies. They’re a symbol for love. Depicting youth and the young at heart. A butterfly flits from place to place. Explorative and social.

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While I’m a more introverted being, I still connect so strongly to these insects. They are my “spirit animal” in every sense. My dreamy Patronus. I feel as though I move from place to place in my adventures. Talking with strangers, reaching out to new friends. To those I meet, I am a child at heart. I think I always will be. If I could, I’d be happy existing as a butterfly. I still hope to fly someday.

By the time we arrive indoors, my hands are striped candy canes. A pattern of burning and numbing sensations.

We gather around the stage to view a 6:30 show. Acrobatics with spinning plates and apple cans. A man pulling masks from his face. Dancers with scarves and contortionists moving and connecting as one.

We make the drive back home, already planning our future adventures. This year is a hope for a continuous adventure that begins with blue butterflies.

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