Sunday, August 8, 2010

Monarch Sex

There are monarch butterflies all over my yard. Mine is the SE corner lot, and the boulevard is full of wildflowers. As are two flower beds in the yard. Of particular interest to the monarch are the blazing stars, of which I have three native varieties - meadow, prairie, dotted/rough - and the swamp milkweed, the common milkweed already having gone to seed. There is a large swamp milkweed outside the window to my writing desk. On it are three giant black hornets, more than an inch long. A "king of the insects" swoops in, lands on a hornet, the hornet flies to another flower and the monarch feasts.

Danaus plexippus. This is likely a third generation monarch, preparing to lay the eggs of the fourth generation. The first generation flew north from the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve, a United Nations World Heritage Site in the Mexican states of Michoacan and Me'xico, in the central highlands. The fourth generation will fly back to the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve, probably to the same tree the first generation over-wintered on, which was also the fourth generation monarch of the previous years generational cycle. The fourth/first generation will over-winter, hibernate on that tree with a few ten thousand others, amid a few hundred trees with a few ten thousand monarchs each. There are twelve such colonies in the central Mexican highlands, colonies that are protected from men with chainsaws, by men with guns.

I walk outside to watch the monarch. I count ten before I stop counting because I can't be sure if I'm counting more than one twice, they are fluttering from plant to plant so, from flower bed to flower bed. There is one fluttering here and there without landing on anything and then I realize, there is another monarch hanging underneath him. He is dipping and weaving, over the potatoes, through the corn, in and out the purple cone flower, over the house, brushing past the maple on the boulevard, back to the yard, up and down, again and again, propelling upward, giving way to gravity, for several minutes - while she is connected to him, hanging upside down, fully prone. I am exhilarated, watching them. Feeling a bit inadequate, really. What a ride! Who knew monarch sex could be so good?

Such is the effect of the Market, the power of Demand, that the monarch butterfly, one of the most cherished of North American species, must be protected by men with guns. If not for that protection, the monarch east of the Rockies, because they are so clustered through the winter, could go extinct in a single year, Demand being mostly indiscriminate and insatiable. The Market is the great hand of God, some say. Let the Market be, and all will be well, say the Market fundamentalists. If the Market were unchecked, there would be no monarch butterflies in my wildflower beds, or any other flower bed in North America, East of the Rockies. The men with chainsaws would have their way, and the forest that is the winter home for the fourth generation monarch that is also the first generation monarch for the next generational cycle would be lost.

What I wonder is, are the men with guns living in service to the monarch, in service to the Earth? Probably not. Most likely, they are in service to the UN, or the Mexican Government. I can not speak of the culture protecting those monarch colonies with any certainty, as I have not been among the people. I can only say what I know about men with guns in service to Government, of men with chainsaws in service to Corporations, sky gods or themselves, all of them more-or-less genuflecting before the Market, supplying Demand.

Having observed monarch sex, I am in service. If a man is to aspire to something, he need not be limited to the actions of his fellow men. It's best if he is open to the actions of species other than his own. Imperative, to be truthful. The actions of our fellow men are increasingly not for aspiring to, for those who aspire to balance, wholeness and healing. For those who want to feel awake and alive.

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