Winking at the butterfly
They say that a butterfly can flutter
its wings in Africa and affect the weather
in North America. Or that a ball rolling down a
hill a billion times would never
follow the same path. Chaos theory
they call it. Sensitive dependence
on initial conditions.
Who am I to argue? If one of my ancestors
had stayed ahammock that one day
instead of wandering the creekbed and
stubbing his toe on a protruding root of a
baobab tree, I might be driving a
Mercedes-Benz and wearing
mother-of-pearl cufflinks today.
Any infinite ancient conditions could
have prevented the river from
bending near our home,
could have prevented the human eye from
perceiving circadian rhythms,
could have resulted in twenty-three
herbs and spices out of Colonel
Sanders’ kitchen instead of the
Who knows? Water could have a flavor, the
purpose of the appendix could be
known to us, our home could be
constructed of chocolate ganache.
We could all have five elbows!
The possibilities are infinite. Anything
could have caused anything. Anything
could have prevented anything.
But nothing –
no butterfly, no baobab root, no ancient,
rolling ball – could have kept me from
finding you and nuzzling my nose
against your soft, freckled bosom.