Because people have planted Milkweed, the only plant on which Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs, Monarchs are coming back. I remember them from my childhood in Iowa, and I love them here where I am now. I circle in time and touch.
One warm day in February we were at the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove. When we arrived, we could see butterflies closed, at rest in the trees. Then, the warmth of the wakening day reached them and we were surrounded by fluttering wings. We were circled by butterflies.
I’ve with that today as I consider rivers of connection, rivers curving before their flow to the sea.
Brian Doyle wrote that “This lush, troubled world, so ferociously lovely, so plundered and raped and endangered, is itself a seething river of divine love.”
I pull out my well-worn copy of Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
“Never in his life had he seen a river before – this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver – glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble.” Mole trots along the river, “bewitched, entranced, fascinated”.
Then Mole sat on the bank, where the “river still chattered on to him, a babbling process of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea”.
And with that, I come to the last stanza of Brenda Hillman’s beautiful poem, “Some Daybreak Stanzas for Our Daughters.
One doe scratches an itch on
her back, jaw moving counter clockwise,
her smart nose reaching far into
the dawn. Her fawn spots merged
with sunlight long ago and will
circle the tree forever. The perceiving
mind is restless but can surround
the infinite stress of human love.