Butterflies

The thing is, the longer I spend here — 3.5 years of the PhD and counting — the longer I spend here the more I think that I would rather be the one creating the things than the one analyzing the things.

***

Setting: undergraduate class
My favourite professor says, “Trying too hard to find a hidden meaning in a poem is like plucking the wings off a butterfly.”
The image never leaves me.
Almost 7 years later I wonder about how many butterflies I have killed and what all the death was for.

***

The thing is, the longer I spend here — 3.5 years of the PhD and counting, 2 years of the Master’s — the longer I spend here the more I think that I would rather be the one creating the things than the one analyzing the things.

***

Setting: elementary school classroom
The teacher asks us to draw a picture of us being whatever it is we want to be when we grow up.
I never answer the question.
Almost 20 years later I couldn’t complete the same assignment even though I am technically grown.

***

The thing is, the longer I spend here — 3.5 years of the PhD and counting, 2 years of the Master’s, 4 years of the Bachelor’s — the longer I spend here the more I think that I would rather be the one creating the things than the one analyzing the things.

***

Setting: conservatory gardens
Someone asks, “What is wrong with you? Are you afraid of butterflies?”
I stand as still as possible.
Almost 9 years later I can’t remember if I was scared to hurt them or if I was waiting for them to come to me.

***

The thing is, the longer I spend here the more I want to stop killing butterflies.

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