Dreaming of Butterflies

When one’s dream of snow arriving on crystal wings remains unfulfilled (or those splendid hexagon crystals dissipate almost as soon as they appear), one might dream of other beautiful wings that drift through the air like apparitions from a better world. The realization that both crystal-winged and scaled-winged entities exist in this world renews a sense of wonderment that sometimes gets lost in the more mundane pursuits of our lives.

Like many of us, I had heard of the “butterfly effect,” but only when I prepared this post did I actually bother to look up the expression. I learned that it was first coined by mathematician and meteorology professor at MIT, Edward Lorenz, after a 1962 experiment revealed that tiny changes made to variables used in meteorological computer models had, quite unexpectedly, large effects. To illustrate the significance of the results, Lorenz suggested that “the flap of a butterfly’s wings might ultimately cause a tornado.” His findings were eventually juxtaposed to Isaac Newton’s notion of a “clockwork universe,” a universe that functions like a mechanical, completely predictable system, and they were instrumental in the creation of “chaos theory.”

I am neither mathematician nor physicist and don’t profess to understand any of the difficile details propounded by either Newton or Lorenz. But I have always liked the notion that a butterfly’s beating wings might affect the weather in a land far away. Not necessarily create a tornado, but maybe carry a refreshing breeze to someone who is suffering on a sweltering day, or a tender touch to the cheek of a lonely soul.

And I think the notion should serve as a reminder to all of us that everything that happens on this earth has far-reaching consequences, for better or for worse.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover the cursor over it.

2021 Butterfly Encounters in Colorado

2021 Butterfly Encounters in Germany

PS: I consulted Peter Dizikes’s 2/22/2011 online article in MIT Technology Review, “When the Butterfly Effect Took Flight” for some of the details of this post.

64 thoughts on “Dreaming of Butterflies

  1. The butterfly effect is a familiar notion, and signifies to me that everything is interconnected, and that “we’re all in this together.” I’m jealous of your Mourning Cloak – here we know it as the Camberwell Beauty – it’s a rare migrant species, and I’ve never been lucky enough to see one. The Woodland Brown looks very similar to our Speckled Wood, which is relatively common here. Butterflies are wonderful, and always raise the spirits.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Mr. P. We are definitely “all in this together” and I wish we started to act on that knowledge. So many butterflies are suffering from our selfish ways and their decreasing numbers make me very sad. But seeing one definitely raises the spirit. 🦋

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Or – – – the beauty of a butterfly might brighten someone’s day who then did an act of unexpected kindness that was observed by others who were charmed and inspired to do likewise and an entire community was made better.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hello dear Tanja,
    Everything has already been said, so I wanted to simply add that this really made my day. We are having a very cold winter, and I felt warm and fuzzy inside thanks to your images and message. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A great colorful post for my morning! I am heading out now restoration event, taking advantage of a beautiful day whose high will be in the 60’s. Definitely no snow here. Be well, Tanja and May we all model the butterfly effect in a way that is not destructive to our home! (Do as the butterfly does.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your closing sentence is reminiscent of John Muir’s line: “”When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

    Your butterflies got me wondering about the origin of German Falter. Wiktionary says this:
    “From Middle High German vīvalter, from Old High German fīfaltra, from Proto-Germanic *fifaldǭ, *fīfildǭ (“butterfly”), from Proto-Indo-European *peypel-. Cognate with Dutch vijfwouter, Icelandic fiðrildi, and outside Germanic Latin papilio. The form was variously altered and re-interpreted as Zweifalter, Pfeiffalter, etc., from which Falter was backformed, probably by association with unrelated falten (“to fold”).”

    Liked by 3 people

  6. What a fascinating and beautiful thought of a butterfly’s flapping wings bringing a tender caress on someone far away.
    Happy blogging 2022, Tanja, with many new experiences and exciting encounters along with Mother Nature!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Meggie, I also love that thought. 🦋
      I have missed reading about your beautiful world and hope all is well in far and wintry North.
      Wish you and all your loved ones good health and happiness for 2022.


  7. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all thought more about “the butterfly effect” in these difficult times! Somehow, long term consequences of our actions need to come to the forefront of our conversations. The “butterfly effect”certainly has a non-threatening, non-judgemental, but thought-provoking feel to it!
    Maybe we should start a movement…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The Mourning Cloak is new to me, and the European Peacock. Both are lovely, but it was equal fun to recognize the others. I noticed the mention of that Muir quotation above. I’ve had that among the ‘favorite quotations” on my blog’s About page since beginning. I’ve changed a few of my favorites from time to time — reasonable enough over twelve years! — but those words remain, and from time to time I make use of them in posts or comments. They’re completely true.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My ability to recognize butterflies is very limited, so I’m always excited when I recognize the species that presents itself. And I can completely relate to the sentiment expressed in Muir’s quote. It’s apparent that it speaks to many of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Well, thanks to your very gracious comments on our blog, I had to seek you out and see what you have to offer. How happy I am with THAT decision! Simply a beautifully constructed blog, Tanja!

    The butterfly images are especially timely as we are seeing small rumblings of spring here in sub-tropical Florida. As we evolved in our bird-watching experience, it was natural for us to pay attention to other creatures and habitats. Butterflies are one of our favorite targets any time we are out.

    I look forward to keeping up with your writing, thoughts and superb images.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your kind remarks and for journeying from Florida to Colorado to take a look around.

      I feel the same way you do about butterflies and other creatures. When one starts to pay attention, one can’t help but notice all the wonderful beings that surround us, and I’m trying to learn about all of them as much as possible.

      All the best,


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