We enjoyed a remarkable weekend in Santa Cruz this past weekend (I’ll post more soon). One of the things we most looked forward to seeing were the Monarch butterflies at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary. From our research, we learned that the butterflies begin arriving here in October and stay through the winter, generally departing around March. We envisioned trees awash in orange and black, concealing the leaves beneath. Sadly, this was not to be. We’ve had such a mild winter this past year that the butterflies have departed much sooner than usual.
An enchanting story, Butterfly Tree written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Leslie Wu came to mind while we were there. In the story, a young girl named Jilly is walking on the beach with her dog when she looks up in the sky and sees a wispy mist that turns into something orange. What could it be – a fallout from a distant volcano, smoke from a faraway fire? She teams up with her mother to follow the orange cloud overhead into the woods. All along, I have the feeling the mother knows but plays along and adds to her daughter’s curiosity. At last they come upon a tree covered by thousands of Monarch butterflies. Through words and pictures, this book demonstrates the importance of children experiencing the many mysteries of the planet. We didn’t share quite this same experience, however, it was memorable nonetheless.
One of the pleasures of parenting is being able to create such memories with our children. We look forward to visiting this area again as well as to a new film documentary, The Butterfly Trees.