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A Woman's Journal


The Butterfly Effect

By Maggie Turner

November 4, 1999

The Butterfly Effect

7:04 a.m. - This morning the joy fairy missed our house again. The Teenager is having trouble seeing the importance of passing English. The Mother (this is me!) is having trouble making a point for the importance of passing English. It's an impasse. No joy.

I contemplate creating a mythical, serene domestic image in this journal. The fantasy I desire. But no, I might just fly into a rage at myself over the blatant lies being told. Besides, I don't think I'm capable of keeping up that image. The cracks would soon start to show. I guess I'll just have to be content with the some days are good, some days are bad domestic image. That's the reality.

This morning the sky is colored blue. A few brown leaves remain high on the neighbors maple tree. They are laden with snow and sway in the breeze like wayward cotton balls. Snow still covers the roofs and lawns.

2:14 p.m. - I am looking at a picture of a 14th Century rosary bead. It is made of ivory. It presents two faces to the world, back to back. One face is that of a serene looking young girl, pretty and appealing. The other face is that of a scull. The description: "What you are, I once was! What I am, you will become!"

According to the author of this snippet entitled, "Death and the Medieval Maiden", death and thoughts of death permeated everyday reality. "Icons of human mortality - melancholy and macabre - proliferated" during that period in history.

Each side of the rosary bead described above represents a demarcation point of a life; the beginning and the end. I have been fascinated of late by the passage of a life. Reading biographies has probably prompted this type of reverie. I think the thing that bothers me most about dying is that I won't have a chance to think about it as whole, when it's all over. There will be no "rewind" button on the remote control for this one. No instant replays so that I can see what will work better next time.

It is probable that no biography will be written about me; that no one who knew me will spend the time to review my strengths, weaknesses and contributions to the world. I don't really expect anyone to be that interested in my particular life, after all they are probably busy taking care of the one they have going. If they aren't that interested in their own lives, I'm not sure I would want them taking an interest in mine. At least not while I am unable to do the final edit.

So that leaves me wondering just what this life thing is all about. I can't see the forest for the trees. Here I am in the middle of this thing (one never actually knows where the middle is of course) and I don't really know how it fits into the world. I do know that I am a little part of every living thing I come into contact with. I am a much larger part of the people I love and who love me. When I die my departure will have significance, but that significance may not be tangible, measurable or obvious. Metaphorically, I just may be that butterfly in Peking who flapped her wings and in so doing impacted upon weather patterns on the other side of the world, the Butterfly Effect. Or maybe not...

Still it is a life, and it is mine.


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