Monday, March 06, 2006

Destroying the Beautiful

I was feeling sentimental the other night. There was Mozart’s piano sonata in the background as I worked. Then out of nowhere, a small butterfly came fluttering into the room. It circled around me as I stared. Tenderly, it landed on my shoulder.

I almost cried; there’s something about pretty small flying things that touches your heart. The Hindus say dead loved ones come back sometimes to visit you, and it’s a blessing if they’d come in nice forms, and not in ugly things like maggots or a small, crawling insect version of Bella Flores.

I remembered many things that night. I remembered that line from a writer I like, about a dream of water and hands and song.

I remembered how I’d usually imagine most of Mozart’s music as they would visually appear in my head—as butterflies that suddenly flutter from out of nowhere: Mozart begins so simple, for example; there’s just the whisper of basset horns. As Salieri said in the film Amadeus, “Then suddenly—high above it—an oboe, a single note, hanging there unwavering, till a clarinet took over and sweetened it into a phrase of such delight.”

This butterfly was that single note. This butterfly was that oboe, hanging onto me, unwavering, even if I’d try to remove it from my shoulder. It kept coming back to land again. And again. And again.

It would not leave.

I looked at the butterfly so sweetly. God’s beautiful creation.

Then I squashed it.

Yeah. It’s dead, baby.

For similar posts, see Essential Cruelties.

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