Friday, August 22, 2008

Monarch Butterfly Migration

Every August I observe the glorious Monarchs on their way south to Mexico.

My first sighting this year was August 21st. It is 11 months since my dad's death on this date. I was with my son and my brother this morning and we briefly remembered the event of his passing.

It was later when I had returned home that I saw this beauty. And I recalled again what day it was and I thought it was entirely appropriate.

I think this is a female but I am not as interested in taxonomy as I am in the poetic beauty of the creature and the heroic bravery of the individual Monarchs as they make the migration.

I look at an individual butterfly and they are so delicate and fragile with paper thin wings that I wonder in amazement that they can fly from plant to plant much less hundreds of miles to the tropical forests of Mexico.

It seems to me I became aware of them sometime in my early adulthood. They were there before of course whether I knew about them or not. And while I cannot recall the year I do remember the occasion.

It was in the middle or latter part of August and I came home to see them. In the front yard there was this Mulberry tree. It, along with all other bushes and plants, was covered with living Monarchs. They covered the grass there were so many and it was that way over our entire neighborhood.

My neighbors, or the ones that could, were all outside and we were all standing there together with our mouths open and our minds lost in amazement at the sight of so many Monarchs.

Most Monarchs live only a couple of months. But beginning in August the generation that is born then enters a non-reproductive stage and those live seven or more months. That's enough time for them to make the trip to the warmer places of Mexico where they spend the winter.

It is an amazing journey for a creature whose wing span measures 4 inches or less.

When I saw my first one today I ran to the car and found my camera and was so fortunate to get an image. Then I stood there quietly and watched and soon I had seen several.

Maybe this year I will get to see many all at once like I did 30 years ago.

One or many though they are such beautiful, wonderful creatures.


rilera said...

That must have been amazing to see all those monarchs. They are indeed quite beautiful.

Cinnamin said...


Flinty, I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. You always make me stop and think!

~Betsy said...

While reading this, I couldn't help but think of caregivers - fragile, yet strong and determined.

Thanks for the nice post.