The big silver maple tree is home to birds, squirrels, and a thriving ivy growth. Yes, we know it’s a parasite. No, we don’t want to lose our tree. But every year we bargain with the devil, because when the Monarchs come through it’s ivy-bloom time.
Suddenly our tree is alive with bees, flies, and–yes–Monarch butterflies. For a few brief days we’re the center of intense activity. They’re here, then just as abruptly they’re gone.
There are things Monarch-lovers can do, along the way. Plant milkweeds, for one. Plant other flowering shrubs and herbs that attract butterflies, and limit or eliminate nonessential pesticides.
But the hazards of the annual migration are massive and fierce. Every year, we pray enough will make it to Mexico, in spite of all the destruction we humans have wrought, that the cycle can begin again.
IMAGES: All photos were taken by Jan S. Gephardt and are copyright-protected by the artist. You may re-post these images with my permission, if you use them unaltered, with a link-back and attribution.