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Out by the fish pond
off the corner of the front porch,
Monarch Butterflies
silently, softly,
hover
above the Blue Mist Spirea,
gently land
on the purple flower clusters
and suck nectar
through their thin black “straws.”
It is food for a very big journey.
They are members of the fourth
and last generation of Monarchs
this year.
The first three generations
were born in the north,
where milkweed
(the only thing Monarch larvae—caterpillars—eat)
is plentiful.
Those three generations,
which only live two to six weeks
once they reach adulthood,
live their lives in the north.
This fourth generation—
unlike the three
short-lived generations—
lives six to eight months.
Recently emerged from their chrysalises,
this year’s last generation of Monarchs
flies south.
Those west of the Rockies fly to California;
those east of the Rockies,
to Mexico.
Despite the fact they have never been here,
they fly to the very same Eucalyptus (in California)
and Oyamel Fir (in Mexico) trees
that their ancestors flew north from
late last winter.
They will hibernate
until next February or March,
when they will wake up,
as did their ancestors five generations ago,
find mates,
fly north,
and lay eggs.
Next year’s four-generation cycle
will have begun.

It is heartening
to know that
despite habitat loss,
these wondrous ones
still
exist.
And it is soul-soothing
to watch these beautiful,
mysterious creatures
floating,
fluttering,
flittering
in the Blue Mist.

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