A golden flight of hope: In today's troubled and confusing times, we are always looking for a bit of good news, and I am happy to report on this item about one of our favorite butterflies. Don Riepe is the Director of the Northeast chapter of the American Littoral Society https://www.littoralsociety.org/don-riepe.html and has served the National Park System’s Jamaica Bay for more than 25 years and since 2004 is officially the Jamaica Bay Guardian. He is also the Secretary/Treasurer of the NYC Butterfly Club. So when Don gives news about the monarch butterfly, we know we are getting it from a knowledgeable source. He put a reminder video on his Facebook page of the butterflies landing on goldenrod plants at Jamaica Bay in 2017, and he followed it up saying that he was seeing lots of them again this past week. Seeing this, I felt I had to do a sketch and share it on the blog. Monarchs have been in trouble for the past few years and their numbers have been dropping, so it is heartening to read that they are they are still visiting Jamaica Bay in some numbers as they head to Texas and then to California and/or the mountains of Mexico. I have seen dozens of them in the Riverside Park Community Garden since late August up until just yesterday. Monarchs are amazing creatures especially considering that the monarchs that leave our northern climes and head south, flying up to 3000 miles, are the second generation of the monarchs that arrived here last summer. New monarchs! Yet following air currents and thermals, they make the trip with in-born genetic information to guide them. Monarchs are the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration, albeit with different generations, a feat only also accomplished by some bird species. The monarch's golden wings give us hope for their future and the future of our planet. If you have a garden, plant milkweed since that is the host plant for the butterfly.
For me, drawing in my sketchbook also offers a bit of hope and a sense of gratitude for the beauty of nature. It is a kind of meditation. You can see that I drew across the page of my little 4x6 Daler-Rowney sketchbook giving me double the size. I don't mind the line in the middle, and I find it good practice to include the date and a note or two about what I am drawing.