The Butterfly Effect

Yesterday I was sitting in the outdoor section of a Starbucks near Yokohama station sipping coffee  when I noticed a butterfly fluttering around as if it was checking out the cafe to see if it were a good place to settle down and raise a family. At that moment something came over me…a wonderful feeling I’d never felt before. For the briefest of moments I imagined myself as the kind of person who could extend a finger and the butterfly, sensing my, I don’t know, purity of heart and utter inability to harm another of the Creator’s creatures, especially one as beautiful and guileless as a butterfly, would descend  sharply and land on it.

But, that feeling only lasted the few seconds it took for the butterfly to descend to a height parallel with mine, with that erratic way of flying they have that gives no indication which direction it would go next- whether it would be across the street or into my mouth. And once I get a good look at the pattern on its wings which are a pitch silky black speckled with the yellow of  urine diluted by an excessive amount of spring water, and its design suggestive of an intelligence both ingenious and inhuman…

I duck inside the cafe to finish my coffee.



2 Responses to “The Butterfly Effect”

  1. 1 TLR
    July 28, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Here is a story from the Ch’uan Teng Lu, told by Alan Watts about “a fascinating encounter between Tao-hsin and the sage Fa-yung, who lived in a lonely temple on Mount Niu-t’ou, and was so holy that the birds used to bring him offerings of flowers. As the two men were talking, a wild animal roared close by, and Tao-hsin jumped. Fa-yung commented, –referring, of course, to the instinctive (klesa) of fright. Shortly afterwards, while he was for a moment unobserved, Tao-hsin wrote the Chinese character for on the rock where Fa-yung was accustomed to sit. When Fa-yung returned to sit down again, he saw the sacred name and hesitated to sit. said Tao-hsin, At this remark Fa-yung was fully awakened…and the birds never brought any more flowers.

    and finally there is this one:

    Once Chuang Tsu he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn’t know he was Chuang Tsu. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Chuang Tsu. But he didn’t know if he was Chuang Tsu who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Tsu.



    • July 28, 2009 at 9:27 pm

      thanks for the shout and the interesting if not cryptic chinese stories…real head scratchers hehehe

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