When I hear the word butterfly, I see a monarch butterfly. Still common in my hometown, this was the only butterfly I could identify until relatively recently. I was happy to see quite a few on a visit a few weeks ago to Richard Bong State Recreation Area, one of Wisconsin’s state parks. According to its homepage, the area was slated to become an airport for jet fighter planes but was spared at the last minute – as in shortly before the concrete for the runway was poured. How the world desperately needs more of these happy endings!
Monarchs thrive on a diet of milkweed, a plant that produces prickly pods that split to reveal silky seeds.
Pesticide use in North America and deforestation in Mexico, where monarchs spend the winter, have a direct impact on the monarch population. For readers in North America, growing milkweed in your yard is just one way to help out the monarch butterfly. Refraining from using pesticides also helps pollinators like the one in the picture below.
It has been good spending these past few weeks where remnants of the Midwestern prairie yield to Lake Michigan. The unseasonable heat and lack of rainfall is troubling, yet my wish to be here in this familiar landscape while the weather was summery came true.
The colors and the sounds (especially blue jays, crickets, and cicadas) have been soothing, the expanse of the sky a reminder of how limitless and open life can be.
Soon I will be experiencing the Alps in autumn, covering up with wool sweaters and opening up my umbrella. But now it is time to listen to the breeze whispering through the prairie grass and soak up a little more warmth while I still can.
May you enjoy the colors, sounds, and vistas around you!