The Butterfly Project
It amazes me every day how the universe folds up neatly and sits so nicely in this book-like contraption called my laptop. I flip it open in the morning, press the power button, and everything in the world except a hot cup of coffee is right in there. It's amazing.
More amazing is the network of associations that emerge from individual thoughts on individuals' blogs. For example, last week, I posted photos of butterflies at Airlie Gardens in Wilmington, North Carolina, and in the Bronx Zoo in New York. In response, Laura told me about the butterfly project at the Holocaust Museum of Houston by way of a link to another blog that linked to the actual project.
Which places us all squarely in a concentration camp in World War II, where Pavel Friedman penned this poem:
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone....
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ’way up high.
It went away I’m sure
because it wished
to kiss the world good-bye.
For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here, in the ghetto.
Pavel Friedman, June 4, 1942
Born in Prague on Jan. 7, 1921.
Deported to the Terezin Concentration Camp on April 26, 1942.
Died in Aushchwitz on Sept. 29, 1944.
When we come back to the present wondering how it is we can connect with Pavel Friedman's story and the stories of 1,500,000 children who died in the Holocaust, we find we can respond as humans always have responded to destruction: by creating something. In this case, butterflies.
I created these origami butterflies for this project. I think I will also enlist the help of the students in my origami club at school. The kids in my club always want to make something for somebody once they have mastered a pattern. This time, their somebodies will have come before them. We will share our work with this project. Thank you, Laura, for shedding light on this part of our universe.