The Butterfly Stone Story 🦋🐚

The Butterfly Stone Story 🦋🐚

The Butterfly Stone Story

”One can not collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can only collect a few, and they are more beautiful if they are a few.” – Gift From the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindberg

 The Butterfly Stone is more than a fossil, a treasure to be found at the beach.
It is a symbol of the love & bond of family.
It’s a symbol of the humble legacy of my own family and the place that brings us together.

 I fell in love with the sandy shores of Lake Huron long before I could walk the water’s edge or swim in the blue lake. One could say I never had a choice but to love this place as my own mother and her mother before had.

 That is where the story begins, with my Grandmother – Pamela Finch, a war bride and British immigrant – mother to 5 children. My Grandfather, Gregory Finch, and Grandmother, a struggling working class family building a life together after surviving the trauma of war.

 I’ve been told that it was my Grandmother who fell in love with the empty lot on “Old Mouth Lake” in Port Franks. Determined, she scrimped and saved what little she had to purchase the land. She found peace there, a shelter from busy city life. She saw a place for her children to run free, where they could enjoy God’s creation and explore all the land and lake had to offer. My mother and her siblings spent many a happy weekend and summer in Port Franks. First, in a little trailer and later in a cottage that my Grandfather built.

 When I came along my mother and father continued the tradition of weekends at the beach visiting my grandparents. Birthdays and holidays were celebrated here. It became a gathering place for the ever expanding Finch family. All the Aunts, Uncles and cousins came together. These were happy times – a childhood well spent.

 How quickly life can change, like the ebb and flow of the Great Lakes themselves. A season of happiness gives way to a season of grief and loss. Death touched our family. First it was my mother who left us tragically at the young age of 33, then my grandfather. Lastly, my Grandmother who never made it to my wedding on the beach as she passed just days before.

 Through this all I grew up on the beach at Port Franks. Mine is a true coming of age story.

Hours were spent wandering the sandy shores, contemplating life, wrestling with sorrow and laughing with joy.

Hours spent soaking in the sun and enjoying the splendor of countless summer sunsets.

Many evenings spent around campfires – whispering my deepest secrets to my dearest cousin – and when the secrets were too much to share I’d whisper them into the wind to be lost in the noise of the crashing waves.

 I have walked that beach as a teenager dreaming of walking it hand in hand with my one true love. Dreaming of my future husband and I at sunset, watching the painted sky give way to the night. Dreaming of laying in the cool sand together as we stared up at the stars.

Then as an adult I stood on that same shore, my heart full as I said my vows to the one I love.

And as a mother I held my daughter’s hand as she climbed the driftwood piles and splashed in the waves.

 All through the ebb and flow of life – the seasons – the years, I gathered these little butterfly stones as memories.

 A treasure found as a child while beach combing with my grandparents.

A treasure found as a teenager walking the beach, desperately missing my mom but thankful for an Aunt who’s love eased the pain.

A treasure found as a mother digging in the sand to build sandcastles with my daughter.

 These little butterfly stones preserving the memories of

Loved ones past

Loved ones present

And promising a future of many more Summers well spent.

- written by Amie Payne


Have your own Butterfly Stone story? I’d love to hear it!

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For more information on fossilized Brachiopod shells aka Butterfly Stones please visit:





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