I considered putting this line into yesterday’s page. I hope everyone can see that there are heaps of dead butterflies, killed by the traffic (even if it seems to be a rather quiet road…)
These scenes about the butterflies stem directly from an experience I had back in university, even before Billy and I were an item. It was during the December break (summer holiday for us, about two or three months off) and a friend had invited me to her home in Louis Trichardt to watch the complete solar eclipse. Louis Trichardt is a little town very close to most northern boundary of South Africa, about 4 hours drive away from my parent’s house in Randburg. A friend of mine were also invited and my parents were generous enough to allow him to drive one of their cars as I didn’t have a driver’s license yet.
The car had a tape player and one working speaker and we had decided beforehand we’ll take turns: one tape his, next tape mine. I only took one tape with, it had The Eels’ Beautiful Freak on it, and some Live songs. I can’t remember what music he took along, probably Dave Matthews Band and Pink Floyd.
And so we took on the long road, us and many others – the solar eclipse would only be partial in Johannesburg and Pretoria, a lot of people were on their way to the Kruger National Park where it would be a total eclipse. They were doing construction work on large portions of the road and I remember sitting in traffic often.
So, a long straight stretch of road and lots of cars… bump. Just the tiniest little noise. Bump. Another one. I saw what we had hit. A white butterfly. Then another one. And I looked around. There were thousands of them, trying to cross the road. There were even more of them along the side of the road, little white heaps that flurried when a car drove by. And every minute that we drove along at 120 km/h we hit another white butterfly.
It will always haunt me, the beauty of the solar eclipse that we saw the next day, but at the cost of many tiny, fluttering lives. How many butterflies must have died that year?