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The Butterfly Effect Redefined

May 27th, 2023 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, how little they ask and how very much they offer in return.

I do not talk much about my fascination with butterflies. Most people understand birdwatching which I enjoyed for many years until my chronic back problem forced me to give it up. But when you confess that you chase the smaller winged wonders, you tend to get the “Oh, that’s interesting” response coupled with a furrowed brow.

For the record, I do not use a butterfly net as some afficionados of this pastime do. So I am one step removed from the nature geek gamboling through meadows sweeping his net at anything that takes flight. I use binoculars which leaves casual observers free to assume I am watching birds – a misconception I am happy to leave unchallenged.

Why am I fascinated with these delicate creatures of glorious summer? It stems at a high level from my general love of nature in all its forms. But there are specific reasons why these winged wonders fascinate me.


The simplest of the reasons is that many of them are quite visually stunning like the Baltimore Checkerspot above. I still remember the day I first spotted one. My heart fluttered (pun intended) and I was desperate to get a photograph of it. Beauty inspires me particularly when it is fleeting as butterflies are by their very nature.

Learning to identify these diminutive and often look-alike creatures is an intriguing challenge. There are some butterflies that are unmistakable on sight. But often I must apply a combination of field marks, habitat, season, geography and even behaviour to make an I.D.  Case in point: Tiny Skippers like the Crossline Skipper above.

But if I am being completely honest, the main reason I am drawn to this pastime is because it is a reprieve from the increasingly fractious and often inexplicable affairs of the human race.

Butterflies have no hidden agenda, no axe to grind, no prejudices and no selfish desires. They do not compete to see who can acquire more wealth or power, expect more of me than I can offer or enter into conflict for reasons that made no sense to me. All they ask is that I appreciate their simple elegance and do my best to protect the fragile environments in which they live.

The Butterfly Effect metaphor – that a butterfly flapping its wings can have an impact thousands of miles away – demonstrates that little, insignificant events can lead to significant results over time. But for me it means simply that the sight of one of these winged wonders can bring me peace of mind and spirit I often cannot find anywhere else.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Diet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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