The Regal Monarch


It drops into the yard and alights upon the cup plant, forgoing the butterfly bush oddly enough, or maybe it hasn’t noticed it across the yard. High in the air, at least a foot taller than me, it rides the gently undulating stalks. The afternoon sun squints through the pine trees as the monarch feasts upon the nectar of the lemon-hued flowers. A cicada beats in the distance. The sounds and the scenes of summer. It is not quite done with us yet. It is reminding me to slow down. I do pause there, holding the sight, watching the butterfly work.

They travel thousands of miles – all the way from Mexico I’ve read – and they’ll continue on through Maine. We’ll see them there in October, a riot of striped orange on magenta cosmos or deep purple asters, swarming the gardens by the shore. Against a bright blue sky, they flit and flutter, assured of their magnificence, deceptively cloaked in the most frail-seeming of flashy outfits, but such armor has brought them all the way across the continent.

Vestiges of the caterpillar remain, because you can never completely shed your past, no matter how far you fly, no matter what costume you wear.

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