The Obsession of the Monarch Butterfly
As winter thaws and spring arrives deep in the mountains of Mexico,
the monarch butterflies begin to stir.
One monarch is especially restless.
Something has changed within her.
A few months prior, she flew up the mountains to the oyamel forest.
Concerned only with her own survival.
Today, she worries for someone else.
She carries not only herself but the next generation of monarchs.
Her heirs, her offspring, soon to be caterpillars.
Descending from the highlands she flies north.
A sense of urgency follows, her time is limited.
Her eggs need a safe place to lay, and soon.
Monarchs are discerning creatures.
For their young, only one plant will suffice.
Only one habitat acceptable.
For her little ones, she seeks no compromise.
Pursuing shelter of a higher order.
A habitat of a different kind.
A singular, suitable home for her caterpillars.
Milkweed is her first and only choice.
This perennial is a wise and shrewd selection.
As caterpillars feed, they ingest the toxins.
Forming a chemical defense from her feathered foe.
This ingenious safeguard lasts a lifetime.
Her orange and black wings give clear warning.
A reminder of the poison coursing through her veins.
Dining on her offers considerable risk.
For this reason, the monarch has many imitators.
The viceroy copies her amber-colored wings.
The queen mimics her milkweed diet.
Inspired by the monarch, capitalizing on her success.
Across the border, onward to Texas she soars.
Her finely-tuned internal compass acting as guide.
Employing the sun and rotation of earth for direction.
Her coastal cousins fly to California and Florida,
she is destined for the Lone Star State.
Milkweed is calling her.
Her days are spent surveying laurel valleys, fields and plains.
Unlike other butterflies, the Lilac or Daylily offer no substitute.
Her eyes affixed on milkweed.
Yet, this foliage eludes her.
Searching mile after mile, day after day.
No milkweed, none of its many varieties in sight.
No place, no home for her kin.
A product of modern life.
Expanding highways, sprawling suburbs and industry;
All competing for land, for her habitat.
As demand grew, the monarch struggled.
The only plant she required was disappearing.
Her only desire to feed her family.
Provide for her offspring, allow them to thrive.
This cause, this drive is familiar to us.
We strive to empower, feed and nourish.
Be it a person, monarch butterfly or honey bee;
Our hope is that all life can blossom.
Making nourishment available to all walks of life.
We seek to usher the prosperity
of both farmers and monarchs.
Growing less food is a losing proposition.
Yet, a vanishing monarch is a price too high to pay.
We see a better way.
Along with other lovers of nature,
we join a collective response to restore the monarch habitat.
Planting milkweed wherever she roams.
Assuring her search is not in vain.
Sharing knowledge with farmers,
helping them produce more for us,
and conserve more for her.
So that every Spring she finds the perfect plant,
places her eggs underneath the leaves,
and continues on, to her final resting place.
Knowing her work is done, her destiny fulfilled.
Traveling thousands of miles across a continent.
Avoiding predators and enduring the winter.
Ending her life as a tenacious creature and dedicated mother.
We're honored to help protect her legacy.
For the monarchs of today, and tomorrow.
To partner, share and work to maintain her habitat.
Because we share the earth not only with every person, but every creature.
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