Essay on Summary Of ' Twenty Four Hours '

Essay on Summary Of ' Twenty Four Hours '

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Twenty-four hours is an absurd amount of time. It is short and unwarranted. It slides
through your life like water through a sieve. It refuses to conform or compromise. You cannot
catch it with a net because it has no shape.
~~~~~~~
My grand-daddy used to catch butterflies with a net. He bounded through exotic jungles
with my mom and waved his wooden-handled net as if he were speaking semaphore to the wind.
I do not know if his net was actually wooden-handled: I have never seen it. I have only seen his
collections of colorful butterflies, caught many years ago in Malaysia, or Liberia, or Kenya. For
each butterfly, my grand-daddy inscribed a label with the date and slipped a pin through the
thorax. He pinned the delicate butterflies and their scientific epitaphs in rows along the bases of
slender boxes. The boxes are wooden: this I know. They have smooth glass lids and little metal
latches that hinge open with soft clicks. They smell like cedar.
My grand-daddy caught butterflies as a hobby—to kill time, you might say. He liked
looking through his medley of flying colors, which he kept in a back room under the stairs. The
room had no windows, but its walls were lined with rows of shelves of wooden butterfly boxes.
When I was young, I sat in the room and whispered to the butterflies, asking them where they
2
came from and why they had so many patterns. It never occurred to me that the room was a
multicolored graveyard.
Although most of the insects my grand-daddy collected were butterflies, the graveyard
held other colorful corpses as well: smooth iridescent beetles and fluffy brown moths, which
looked like the butterflies except for their thick woolen bodies and furred antennae. They are all
gone now, and the shelves of the back room...


... middle of paper ...


...es out and brushed off their auburn fur.
Sometimes their legs or antennae were broken off, and sometimes they were a little squashed,
but I took them anyway and put little pins through their desiccated thoraxes.
I still have my collection of fuzzy bumblebees, and my mom still has Peanut. We do not
have my grand-daddy. He is in a jar in a church in Tucson, Arizona, lined up with a row of other
jars that hold the ashes of people who ran out of time. The jars are hidden behind stone plates so
that you can’t see the ashes. The date my grand-daddy died is inscribed on his stone, but instead
of an epitaph there is a carving of a butterfly.
~~~~~~~
5
We try to pin down time with a date, like a collected insect in a wooden box. We end up
with a desiccated exoskeleton, a jar of ether, a wooden-handled net. We end up with a carving of
a butterfly. We end up with nothing at all.

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