A Symbol of Migration
Thanks to a reader of Milkweed & Monarchs, I learned that Monarchs and Migration go way beyond the butterflies themselves. Monarchs have become symbols of migration, and twenty-two year old Dreamer Luis Rafeal has recently used the butterfly for a sign to help undocumented residents of a Chicago neighborhood find friendly places to shop and find social services.
Monarchs are well known for their remarkable capability to migrate over 3,000 miles from the United States and Canada to Mexico each autumn, and then return again in the spring. No one butterfly makes the entire journey; it takes four or five generations to travel so far. Just like the human migrants who have come the US, the butterflies bring color and vibrancy into our lives.
Butterflies Know No Border Control
Right now, the Monarchs are emerging from their chrysalises in the north to begin their journey south, and I watch them with some poignancy: they will be able to cross the border without being stopped, without being separated from their children, without being held in poorly run “detention centers,” only to have their journeys toward their freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness thwarted by a government comprised mostly of people who are themselves descendants of migrants.
Another reader told me about Barbara Kingsolver’s 2012 novel, Flight Behavior, a novel one reviewer calls “intimate and enormous,” taking on a woman’s temptation into adultery, a man’s need to sell the land that sustains his family, a scientist’s dispassion, plus religion, belief and the threat of apocalypse. Sounds to me like an example of art at the heart of the humanities.
Will Storytelling Save Us?
Maybe it’s storytelling rather than science that will raise our awareness and move us to action. Something must.