A surprise visitor joined us for dinner one night this past week. The visitor was a Monarch Butterfly!
You might remember early last summer, the Monarch Butterfly was put on the endangered list. For years, the swarms of butterflies that flew from Canada to California or Canada to Mexico and back again had been getting thinner and thinner. Finally, in 2022, scientists put them on the dreaded endangered list.
In the last ten years, the Monarch Butterfly population has shrunk by 99% on the west coast and up to 72% on the east coast for two big reasons. First, the growth of the concrete jungles and highways obliterated the fields they once gained their sustenance and energy to continue the 3,000-mile journey. Second, the increased use of pesticides made it impossible for the tiny insects to get a constant stream of clean air.
To have been paid a visit by the first and only one we’ve seen this season was indeed a joy.
I find myself saying more frequently, remember when we were kids, and this happened, or we were used to that, and you notice today it no longer exists or has changed in some fashion? For example, winters are not nearly as harsh as they once were, rain is not nearly as plentiful as it once was, everything blooms much earlier now than it used to, the scorching heat starts in July, and birds and insects are not nearly as plentiful as they were. I’m sure you get the picture.
Initially, I would catch myself and apologize for sounding like such an old fuddy-duddy. Seriously, none of us wants to sound like previous generations with their ‘well in my day ….’ to drive home the point that they had it so much more challenging than anyone today.
Then I realized I was referring to how much more plentiful and beautiful things were when we were kids than when we were adults. And that the wonders we experienced when we were young would never be wonders for our kids and grandkids.
Which is an entirely different kettle of fish, isn’t it?
I don’t think I have met anyone who has ever NOT said, “I live in the best of times.” For example, the primitive and uncomfortable ways of centuries ago are permanently gone, the land of convenience these days is overflowing, and medicine has made remarkable leaps so that we can all live nearly a century.
I, too, am proud to have lived most of my life when the world and all it had to offer was at its finest.
AND, I am ashamed to be living right now, knowing I was one of the millions who took it all for granted, exploited it and never gave a thought to all the resulting unintended consequences of my actions.
For so long, we humans have believed we’re the superior being. What a stupid thought.
The Monarch Butterfly reminded me that all of us are interconnected. Humans, animals, insects, fish, birds. And flashes of joy are the things we need. NOT more stuff.
Let’s create more joy.