Monday, August 22, 2005

Nature's Footsoldier vs The Freeway

I was stuck on the 202 freeway, moving at a snail's pace on a hot summer weekend. The heat was rising in waves from the concrete of the freeway, combining with the exhaust of the car ahead of me and making everything in front of me dance and shimmer. Why the fuck was there so much traffic on a sunday? God only knew. The stretch of freeway I was on is strange, in that routes 202 and 422 move parallel to each other at that point, so there are in all 10 lanes of traffic sitting side by side.

So as I sat there, engaging and disengaging my stick-shift, fuming at the world, I saw something that caught my eye. From the right concrete breakers of the freeway there emerged a butterfly. Not an ordinary one, not one of those small yellowish white flitters you see racing around meadows, but a big daddy. A beautiful black butterfly with all kinds of red, white and blue markings on it. The kind you see hovering around flowers in the wild, wings flapping almost in slow motion, those fat fuckers who are so humongous and lazy that as they land on a flower, they don't even bother moving their wings, just sit there still like narcissists, inviting you to admire their plumage and take a picture.

So it was one of these guys that I saw entering the freeway. The first thought that passed through my mind is where the hell did this guy come from right slam bang in the middle of a concrete wasteland? And the next was, are you fucking kidding me butterfly, you've got to be pretty arrogant to think you'll be able to cross the freeway and reach the other side in one piece.

It was obvious that the poor bastard had already been pretty banged up while crossing route 422. Now, it entered my side of the freeway, lurching around, getting walloped by car exhaust, rising and falling periodically perhaps with the wind, the exhaust, or just it's cyclically fluctuating energy. Finally, it reached the divider, paused in mid-air, fluttering above the concrete median as if to take a last deep breath before diving into the fast moving traffic on the other side. And then, it plunged in.

Here, cars were screaming past. As every car raced beneath it, the butterfly would be thrown up by the wall of air that preceded it. Then, it would tumble down like a stone almost to street level where it would again beat it's wings furiously and rise up, only to be pummelled again. Every moment I expected it's odyssey to end with a final sickening splat into the windshield of some vehicle. But, against all odds, it slowly moved from lane to lane, progressing past all the cars and 18-wheelers flying by. Finally, it reached the edge of the freeway and with a last, triumphant shimmy, went out of sight, and hopefully, into a better world.

Nature had won today. I went home feeling happy.

8 comments:

chappan said...

Gawker
Still taking forever to load man. I dunno abt others, but I'm afraid that dial-up connections will have to wait a fair bit of time to get to ur site.
Sourin

gawker said...

I think it's just the pictures. Once they go out of the main page it should be fine.

Sri said...

Beautifully written, and like the best written pieces, it got better from start to finish.
Don't mean to sound patronising, but while I like your Bush-bashing and invective-laden criticism of world politics, I think you do better justice to your writing abilities in observances like this one.
On second thoughts, I suppose it is difficult to sound appealing when talking about scum :)

Anonymous said...

Mr Gawker ...i am amazed at your writing skills. This is a wholly new side of you which i never knew existed. Your blog is now in my list of everyday reading. - Minotaur

Sunil said...

Nice to read this one.......

The resilience nature has never ceases to amaze me.

Patrix said...

congrats!...to the butterfly, I mean :)

Sakshi said...

Very well put....

gawker said...

Sri and mino : Thank you so much. Unfortunately the uneventfulness of my life makes my blog rely more heavily on invective-laden bush bashing than more spiritual writing.

Sunil : Absolutely. When man is gone, nature will still take over.

Patrix : Thanks ... from the butterfly.

Sakshi : Thank you again.