Wednesday, April 6, 2011


This blog entry was going to be about something else but the town's been invaded by butterflies.  
            Invaded, possessed, flooded, drowned - take your pick of the metaphors, but the reality is sufficiently surreal - clouds of small, tattered, mis-addressed, mis-directed butterflies.
            I first noticed it at noon, when I was walking to the downtown bus stop.  I passed by a vacant lot  - a flat pan of concrete that was once a service station, and the chain of cracks in the old concrete were full of  lavender bushes.  And only lavender bushes - all across the whole lot.  That, in this town of salt scrub and mulga bush, was strange enough to grab my attention, but it was how I was seeing the bushes that made me blink - I was seeing them blurred, through a cloud of small white butterflies.  
             They floated beside me as I walked past the lavender garden and into main street - no trees, no grass, no lavender bushes, but dozens of butterflies falling lopsided through the air past brick walls and plate-glass windows.  When I got off the bus on the other side of town they'd arrived there before me - hundreds of them, flapping haphazardly in and out of hedges and flowerbeds.  When I stopped by the small supermarket near our house the butterflies had kept pace with me, small white bodies lay crushed and broken inside the supermarket doors - trodden, rolled on casualties of hapless, helpless flight.
            Hundreds of thousands of small white butterflies, their wings blinking open and closed with ad-hoc, clockwork precision, falling in and out of the sky without the least hope of purpose or direction, batting the air and sifting the sunlight between their wings.  It falls in shards.  
          Clouds of them. Millions of them.  And I have better things to do than sit inside and write.

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