The Chaos Theory says that the flutter of a butterfly’s wing on one side of the world can lead to a hurricane on the other. It’s a weather theory by an American mathmatition, explaining how a tiny disturbance of air makes a wave, which ripples outward, leading to unexpected consequences on distant shores.
(Gus is the disturbance in this creek and in my life as well. I didn’t ask for him, but somehow, a long list of butterfly flaps on someone else’s shore rippled him here to my shore. )
But I’m writing about ripples here, not dogs. I'm not good at math, nor weather, and airwaves are hard to see. But waves in the water are easy to watch. Toss a pebble in a pond and watch the ripples roll to infinity. Every action, word and thought is like a stone in the pond that starts a ripple. Once it starts, you can’t call it back. The trouble is, I’m often sleepwalking through my life, maybe I'm worried or distracted, or just daydreaming, kicking stones into the pond, causing ripples without even noticing. (Each time I write that word, I think of fudge-ripple ice cream, which I would like to have right now, but sadly do not.)
And regrettably, sometimes I actually mean to kick those stones, egged on by the grudges I carry around in my invisible backpack. I rehearse some old story of someone's wrong-doing, embellishing it, even. My grudges love this. They holler for more attention. Mean thoughts go rippling right out into the world. My grudges get fatter and louder. The thing is, this backpack is heavy and the noise is getting to me. Wouldn’t it be great to just drop the whole stinking pack? I imagine that feeling you get-- when you finally get into camp after a long day of hiking and take off your backpack—and feel like you’ll float right into the treetops...
On this darkest month of the year, I’m thinking about how I might experience that lighter-than- air-feeling. Thinking that if even a butterfly flap causes a reaction, positive or negative, maybe I should be more deliberate about my flutters and ripples.
If I’m starting something, just by my thoughts and wing-flapping, I’d like to start something good, like a hurricane of hope, or a tsunami of light and love. A wave of Fudge Ripple ice cream about now would be pretty sweet too.
Welcome to Streamriffs.com, a place for fellow creek- walkers and nature lovers. Lori Fisher Peelen lives in California with her family.