Monday, February 8, 2010

Mariposa Monarca

The annual migration of the Monarch butterflies has been both a mystery and a wonderment of nature for many years. These little miracles travel to parts of Mexico each year as the winter season begins. They arrive in the same place, and many times even the same trees even though it is the fourth generation that returns the following year. Many questions still remain as to how the Monarchs know where to find their winter home.My husband and I recently traveled to Mexico to see the Monarchs at the Cerro Pelon butterfly sanctuary. First we took a car up a large mounatin (led by our guide) until we reached a small village. They were ready with horses to take us the rest of the way up the steep mountain. I looked for butterflies all along the way, just waiting for that first glimpse, but I didn't see any. We took the horses as far as we could, and then hiked the rest of the way on foot. All of a sudden our guide stopped, turned around to get our attention and pointed. There in a small valley, high in the mountains were the Monarchs. Their fluttering wings sounded like rushing water as so many of them were flying to be warmed by the sun.

I slowly began to notice that there were already Monarchs all around me. The sun had not yet reached them, so they were remaining frozen in place. They were in clusters on the ground, under leaves, and clinging to branches and tree trunks. It is impossible to describe the sheer amount of butterflies without actually being there. Even our guide and the village locals stood still and absorbed this phenomenal event.

At this particular sanctuary you are able to get closer to them than any other and can stay for an indefinite amount of time. We even ate lunch there, in the middle of the trail, just staring. Some of the locals believe that the Monarchs are the spirits of those who have passed on and greet them each year with respect and adoration. These delicate "winged flowers" will take your breath away and enable you to have your own spiritual experience.

I will probably not have the opportunity to witness this extraordinary event again, but I am thrilled that I did, and will keep so many memories close to my heart.