Thursday, January 29, 2009

Imagine weighing less than 1/5 of 1 ounce...

... and on your first excursion, you fly 2,000 miles to a place you've never seen.

I saw the most incredible Nova on Tuesday on the flight of the Monarch Butterfly.

These are amazing creatures. I had to post on them because they really got to me.

Here's why.

The first generation is hatched on a remote mountainside in eastern Mexico, south of Texas. This generation flies north to the southern US, lives for one month, shedding it's skin five times (the fifth time it turns into a butterfly), breeds, then dies.

The second generation flies north to the middle of the US, about as far north as southern Illinois. The same pattern happens. They live for one month, shedding their skin five times. After emerging from their chrysalis as a butterfly they mate, lay eggs, and die.

Repeat for the third generation, but this group flies north into Canada.

The fourth generation lives longer. And does something miraculous.

After they emerge as butterflies, they fly 2,000 miles south back to Mexico to the SAME PLACE where the first generation was hatched. And I'm not talking about a scattered incident. These creatures simultaneously synchronize their migration from all over Canada, make an unimaginable flight over lakes, rivers, some survive fierce mid-west summer storms, to arrive on that mountainside in Mexico on the SAME day!

I was balling. Yes, I cried like a baby, with my mouth hanging open.

(A bit of PMS).

But, I think it was more than that.

Think about it.

A feather-light, delicate creature undertakes an Odyssey to a place it's never seen, on a flight longer than they've ever taken. All to spend the winter in Mexico before breeding in March and dying.

They fly to the same endangered forest and cling to the trees for warmth for five months; festooning the branches and limbs in orange and black and white:

Click on the image above: those trees are COVERED in butterflies.

It made me think; if a tiny, fragile creature can accomplish that incredible feat, what are the possibilities for a human being? Limitless...

PS: I don't know how to link music here (or if I even have the ability with my version of Windows on a PC), but this makes me think of Sting's song "Fragile". As humans we are so vulnerable and so amazing at the same time. We are the universe looking at itself.


Aliceson January 29, 2009 at 11:39 AM  

truly amazing. I missed that Nova, but hope they air it agian soon.

D January 29, 2009 at 3:17 PM  

That must be a sight to behold- Monarchs flying to Mexico. Truly amazing creatures.

as an aside- your comments were posted and I responded to them. I do appreciate your thoughts, whether I agree or not.

skyewriter January 29, 2009 at 3:49 PM  

Thanks, D. You're a good egg. :)

Shady Lady January 29, 2009 at 7:11 PM  

Thank you for sharing this amazing display! I definitely have to find this episode!!

Don,  January 30, 2009 at 5:02 AM  

Nice post, how ironic, when you reach the end of it in the comments feed, directly opposite is the picture of the guy lying in the gutter.

How sad a statement for the human race is that. On one side the butterflies, victorious and glorious in all their respective splendor.

On the other side of the page, man, in utter despair and failure.

Ironic eh?


Sidhe January 30, 2009 at 7:28 AM  


That's really all I can say, except my verification word is tatta and I'm wondering if that's a reference to "good bye" or "hooters."

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