Chasing butterflies and their people is ridiculously fun. I’ve already met some extremely interesting folks, whose stories you can read in this blog. There are Spanish teachers, ultra-marathon runners, an antiquarian bookseller, a milkweed collector who spreads magic, and because all the pollinators deserve love, you’ll get to read about native bumblebees and the cool people who trekked up into Sequoia National Park in June to research them.
In each conversation I have with these folks I can hear the awe. There’s just something about the mystery of how the monarchs know to go to Mexico, or why the Methuselah generation can selectively stop and start its reproductive cycle AND live six lifetimes longer than all her predecessors… The theme of wonder is common
An article published this summer in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution talked about the role of monarch butterflies as conveners with the ability to connect people thousands of miles apart in a common conversation (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2019.00220/full#B11). The iconic orange and black insect fascinates people across the entire North American continent. And already I’ve found that it’s not just something, but many things. The people sharing their stories and secret butterfly haunts are advocates for art, social justice, cancer research, the environment, and food sovereignty, to name a few.
The professor steeped in scientific rigor answered my customary question of why she’s chasing monarchs answered simply, “I mean, how I could not?”
My husband likes to say that nature trumps everything, and he is so right. For example, I’m writing this outside and turned to see what’s making a little whispery noise. A small wing is tucked between slats of siding, waving to me. An affirmation.
I’m only steps into Chasing Wonder and the examples I’m finding are remarkable. I hope I can give you at least some of the warm, fuzzy feels this journey is giving me.