Magical Monarchs

A Monarch Butterfly taking a rest

Time to think about something other than chemotherapy side-effects and symptoms. Let’s turn to some beauty in the world.  Some Silver Linings (SL’s).

Last week, a friend invited me over to her home for some tea and to “see the butterflies”.  Butterflies?  At her house?

I was having a yucka day. However, my philosophy during FBC is (sometimes with brute force) to get OUT. To say “YES!” as much as I possibly can (though for health reasons, not a lot of crowds or kissing and hugging).  …& you know what?  Every time I do, something wonderful happens (SL).

Like, catching up with a dear friend and seeing thousands and thousands of Monarch butterflies!

Did you know that Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle, and through four generations in one year?

The four stages of the monarch butterfly life cycle are the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly. The four generations are actually four different butterflies going through these four stages during one year until it is time to start over again with stage one and generation one. [1.]

Multigenerational migration.  In ONE year? How cool is that?

As you may remember, our 4 3/4 daughter (who nearly 5!) and I watch Silver Lining Movies because, thanks to FBC, I don’t have the energy that I used to have (but will have back one day soon).  Anyway, I have watched (and loved!) nearly every Disney princess film in existence. In fact, I think we have seen them all.  Therefore, time to move on to some educational films (not that we don’t learn valuable life lessons from the Princesses!).

Santa brought  the National Geographic documentary, Great Migrations. [1.] 4 3/4’s favorite section is the Monarch Butterflies (followed closely by the Wildebeest’s-whose massacre by the alligator is bleeped).

From Great Migration, we learned that the Monarch migratory baton is passed intergenerationally.  It takes 3 generations and five months for them to fly from Mexico to Canada. It takes a 4th, super-generation, to fly from Canada back to Mexico. This multicultural migration is incredibly rare.

The sun tells the Monarch butterfly when it is time to move after a winter’s rest.  After mating, they take to the wing, heading to a place they’ve never been.  Their only map is imprinted on their genes. Their migration is a mysterious interplay  of the sun on their eyes and atennae. An uncanny sense of magnetic north guides the way. The Monarch butterfly is a creature born to move. (I look forward to ANY day that I can move!)

The offspring is laid, hatched and nursed on the milkweed. Then, the next generation begins….to continue the migration.

Below are some photographs of the Magical and Miraculous Monarchs.

Silver-Lined Resting in the Trees

Thousands of Monarch Butterflies Flying in the Sky

The Monarch butterflies cluster in the same tree, sometimes the same patches as their great grandparents.  Then, they rest.  The orange on the trees (that looks like orange leaves) is actually the butterflies clustered together, resting.  So beautiful!

So Beautiful!

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

They were everywhere!

Some were clustered and others were by themselves

I hope that you have the opportunity to see these Monarch butterflies one day, with a friend.  It makes for a Silver-Lined Day!

Just living is not enough, said the butterfly. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

– Hans Christian Anderson


Leave a comment


  1. Rob Jacobs says

    I remember seeing them up in Pacific Grove near Carmel…one of the most incredible sites in nature! That is a major migration stop….

  2. adrienne says

    What a fun field trip , tea and butterflies ! Perhaps you can over to my house next week and we can have some mountain dew and view my gophers !!!

  3. Michele Cuttler says

    There's an amazing (short) hike on the Elwood bluffs (behind Costco) that is a sanctioned preserve for the migrating monarchs. At the end of the hike, you end up on the gorgeous bluffs overlooking the ocean. When my daughter was 4 3/4, we used to hike it ALL the time together and named it "The Magic Forest" – truly magical. xo

  4. Catie says

    I don't know if you've gone to the SB Natural History Museum yet, but we used to go all the time! It's so small and personal, and I love how educational it is for the kids! I grew up there (camps, school trips, etc.), and they have an absolutely wonderful butterfly exhibit every year, complete with a butterfly house!! You can go inside this glorious thing and there are literally THOUSANDS of them, of all different kinds, something little 4 3/4 would LOVE! Hope you get there!!