Back in 2019 I was invited to speak at an arts-centered retreat called “Life is a Verb Camp” in North Carolina. My speech happened to fall on Halloween, so this camp organizer (author Patti Digh) had set a bunch of costume pieces out on a long table and told folks they could wear them.
I approached the table and there they were, shimmering: a large, green, sparkly pair of butterfly wings with two little arm straps. I fell in love instantly, and asked my husband Paul if he could hang them on the back of my chair. They slipped over the handlebars easily and suddenly my wheelchair was transformed into a fantastical thing of beauty. It’s like it had been waiting for the wings forever.
I wore them all weekend, long after my speech had ended, and the wings not only filled me with delight, but they brought cheer wherever they went. People would grin whenever I’d turn to the side, revealing the wings behind me. I realized, for the first time in my life, my wheelchair was finally a true visual expression of my internal aesthetic. If you could see the color palette of my soul you’d know it has a lot of sparkles, rainbows, flowers, and jewel tones.