El Sanctuario de la Mariposa Monarca, El Rosario is located 62 miles northwest of Mexico City in the state of Michoacán. Here literally millions of Monarch butterflies overwinter on part of their four generation trek between Mexico and Minnesota


Daughter of a vendor at the Monarch Sanctuary modeling her wings

Monarchs. Those butterflies with royal orange and black patterned wings that flit into northern life every spring and hasten to return south before the freeze. Monarchs. A story of metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to a being that takes flight – a metaphor of life, death and resurrection. Monarchs. Their rare migration requiring four generations to complete the life cycle that perpetuates their survival, unique among planetary creatures.

As I child, I delighted in watching open fields fluttering with monarchs, touching down on the fragrant milkweed flowers. I didn’t know they flew 3000 miles to overwinter in Mexico. I never thought of their route traversing those many states and the potential danger that might end their trajectory. They were my perpetual sign of spring.

But they might not be perpetual. Their winter homes in the sacred oyamel fir trees of the Sierra Chincua mountains in Mexico are being cut down by campesinos eking out a living. All along their migratory routes, farm fields, ditches and lawns are being sprayed with pesticides and mowed for maximum crop yield or esthetics. Milkweed, their lifeblood, is becoming poisonous.

Cluster of Migrating Monarch Butterflies

I have walked through La Chincua’s tender ecosystem among millions of monarchs floating out of treetops to sip in the puddles below. The towering oyamel are so laden with butterflies that branches break from their weight. One monarch weighs between .27 and .75 grams. Consider the message to us about strength in numbers. Are you the one that will tip the scales?

Metaphors. Connections. The message of my stories.


Monarch Butterflies Migrating in Clear Blue Sky

I am a creature of northern lakes, German immigrants and changing seasons. (My monolingual crawling caterpillar stage). As a teen, I studied Spanish and traveled to Mexico. (Still wrapped in my cozy cocooning time). When I became able to “defend myself” in Spanish, I emerged and took flight. My life is a continual metamorphosis of outside events and internal processing.

Like the monarch, we are linked with both north and south. All along the migration routes, we are responsible for and part of the earth and the sojourners passing through. Beyond survival, we can thrive.

My focus is in networking with an emphasis on intercultural communication via shared events and opportunities within our communities – encouraging personal “metamorphosis” – new perspectives, people and paths.