I have banished all thought of Trump from these posts, of the sight and the sound of him, but he’s pushed his way in here with his escalating threats of nuclear retaliation, beginning on Nagasaki Day (Steve Bannon’s idea?). As I’ve watched the news stories recounting the North Korean threats and Trump’s irresponsible counter-threats in comic book speak, I’ve noticed how very orange he seems this week. A man on vacation might choose to spend time outdoors, and accumulate some sort of natural glow, even if careful about skin damage.
Trump does not seem concerned with anything natural, other than the desire to exploit and abuse nature in order to make more money, but the threats of annihilation, ruination and the alteration of the natural world send me in the other direction.
The Monarch butterflies are flying over the fields and gardens of New England now. Even though a cool and wet summer, it’s been warm enough for them to complete their life cycles, and I see one or two every day as I walk in these beautiful hills, reminding me to realize my life, every, every minute—
To my eye, the Monarch orange is the most pleasing color imaginable, warm and rich, as pleasing as their size and shape. Photos of them do not do the color justice, again, to my eye, since there’s no guarantee that each of us sees a color identically. Watching them fly past or flutter around reminds me in an instant of what is wonderful about our planet, condensed into a small and delicate-looking being. Delicate they are not. Next month they will migrate, the only butterflies to do so, to their winter home in a mountain forest in Central Mexico. One September afternoon I was walking across the Salt and Pepper Bridge in Cambridge Massachusetts when a kaleidoscope of Monarchs crossed the bridge, flying southwest. I wished them bon voyage.
This week I saw a pair mating while flying. They rested on a leaf at my eye level, and in unabashed voyeurism, I was able to study the two at a very close range. Off they flew, locked together. “Show offs,” I muttered.
Every year I try to imagine the Monarch trek, and worry about the number of survivors. This year, I worry that the Monarchs may face high levels of radiation blowing in the west-east winds across the oceans and earth from Guam or North Korea.
I’ll walk in the hills again today and hope to glimpse that wonderful orange color fluttering over a field of green, and I’ll avoid looking at an unnaturally orange face mouthing a threat of fire and fury to the entire world. Our world holds both in precarious balance at this moment, as we revolve around the sun at 18.5 miles per second.