In defense of the butterfly effect: The basics of solidarity

A butterfly flutters alongside the road and a watchful eye catches it swirling in the air.

Daylight savings throws everybody’s clocks off kilter. Friends’ calls go ignored, you have looked at your phone too many times, get back to the paper. Stress blows eyelids open and legs fold up in uncomfortable poses. Yoga classes are extra hard to come by and stretching is time better spent sleeping. The papers will be decent, worth it, but won’t land where they could, if only all that extra time had been siphoned into this Useful Thing.

A life cycle goes by for someone else. One butterfly lays by the roadside, forever still. Another is nearby to float past.

Somewhere along the way, Pink Lemonade Rubi might lose its charm, too many days started by waking up in a pool of sweat. One minute there is dancing, music, a spot of life. All those acquaintances! The thought is hilarious. Sunday passes, and no matter what habits you promise yourself going into it, the the whole day sails by. Sun will never leave its spot in the warm blue sky, but once without warning when day breaks, it will become cold, and you will be stuffed inside and hurried along with your headphones popping out. And those vague cafeteria friends.

An eye that’s following cannot know for sure where those little wings are flying off to. Aren’t there better things to think about than butterflies? Blown in a circle, the critter fights back, still on course, as though playing a game.

Isn’t it remarkable that one can sit and quite literally peel themselves through a course in a semester and the only thing they recall in the end is Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle? More than once the reading room will be almost empty, and there will be no clue where those Sundays slipped to, who caught them. You’ll be surprised to find yourself internally shushing someone, some old friend you are! You forgot to pin down those summer memories before they became gauzy and vague. You flew around everyone else without stopping to chase them. Make those moments land! Land the damn thing, George. There are only 15 minutes of library time remaining.

A butterfly has four wings and four life cycles on an Earth spinning faster than anyone can run or fly. One, two, three, someday you will wake up and realize your eyes have been playing tricks on you. Your contemporaries, so loud and dizzying, were just little insects on a string in the wind. Seasons reappear without asking, and deadlines you fretted over passed without incident. You will look back in autumn and realize clocks only fall forward in the end and we were together all along in the race against time. Your phone will ring off the hook while you flap and get nowhere, it’s a shame one can be reached at all times. But just remember those dancing days don’t always fall in the summer, happiness comes in twos and the eye is the first butterfly.


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