Tuesday, October 21, 2008


It's a classic late autumn day here, dark clouds, heavy rain and charcoal colored skies. On such days, our thoughts turn to travel and migrations, and one can't help thinking about such activities with so many northern Canada geese flying over the roof of the little blue house in the village. Many other species head south in autumn to escape our long icy winters in the north - ducks, loons, herons, swallows, larks and bluebirds all make the long trip south, and so do many of my favorite insects.

I've only touched on the matter briefly this year, but it was a disastrous season for cicadas and butterflies and other beautiful summer residents of the Two Hundred Acre Wood. We spent the summer season peering under milkweed pods, into clover blossoms and up into poplar groves, but there was little to be seen due to unseasonable temperatures and precipitation. We didn't find a single newly hatched cicada at midsummer, and there were no Luna moths hovering in the pines in September.

This gorgeous Monarch was perched on a milkweed pod by the gate only a few days ago, and I was very surprised to find it there. She (or he) fanned their wings slowly then rose and flew southward as I watched and worried about the success of Monarch migrations southward this autumn and home again in springtime.

I can't picture life without the vibrant mechanisms of the turning year this far north, but there are moments here and there when I wish that I too could hit the road for a few weeks. Rather than heading south though, I would be heading west and along the wild north shore of Lake Superior - going home, home, home.

Several weeks after her beloved husband Don's passing, Bev Wigney of the Burning Silo has undertaken the journey with her canine companion, Sabrina, and I am traveling along in her pocket. The photos are sublime, and her descriptions of the pilgrimage are wise and thoughtful, painting a perfect word picture of my favorite place on this whole dear little planet.


Anonymous said...

You writing and your photos are breathtaking and root me into this season in a way that I can usually uncover when I am surrounded by nature, and even then after many moments of concentrated stillness. The way that you capture the fleeting beauty of autumn and so clearly relish the sensory world (practicing what, sadly, just seemed like so many words in David Abram's book) is truly inspirational. I just found your blog today and look forward to being a frequent visitor.

Anonymous said...

Your macro is absolutely amazing! I rarely get to see butterflies like that.