1.02.2009

Butterflies

The Writers Almanac is a daily segment on NPR by Garrison Keillor where he highlights a poem and other interesting "on this date in history" facts, mostly birthdays of authors. Today there was another event featured besides a literary birthday:
It's an important anniversary for lepidopterists — people who study, collect, or observe butterflies and moths. On this day in 1975, an amateur naturalist, Kenneth Brugger, discovered where monarch butterflies from North America spend the winter. Scientists had been studying monarch migration for more than 30 years, and they had found out almost everything about the butterflies, except where they spent their winters.

Kenneth Brugger was an American textile engineer living in Mexico City. He remembered driving through a storm of monarchs once on a vacation, in the mountains west of Mexico City. He went back there, but he couldn't find anything, and the local farmers wouldn't give him any information. Then he brought his Mexican wife Catalina, and the locals warmed up. A farmer led them up the side of a remote mountain, up to 10,000 feet, and suddenly the fir trees were so thick with butterflies that they looked orange instead of green. Scientists estimated that there were 4 million butterflies per acre.

Brugger was elated, but he couldn't fully appreciate what he was seeing — he was colorblind.

Nine years to the day after that beautiful but underappreciated discovery, I entered the world.

Here's hoping I keep my eyes open for "butterflies", learn what God has for me to see, and fully appreciate it!

On a fun note, the "poem" for today in the Writer's Almanac is not exactly a poem, but definitely something I remember from childhood:
Denmark, Kangaroo, Orange
by Kevin Griffith
Pick a number from one to ten. Okay, now multiply that number by nine. You will have a two-digit number. Add those two digits. Now subtract five from that number. Take that number and find its corresponding letter in the alphabet (1=A, 2=B, etc.). Now think of a country that begins with that letter. Now name an animal that begins with the last letter of the country. Finally, name a fruit that begins with the last letter of that animal.

As a child, it was "magic"- now I see right through it, but it's still cute. Anyone else remember it?

2 comments:

W said...

I gave the little quiz at the end to my husband, and his response was, "Djibouti, Iguana, Apple." I guess it didn't work as well this time as it used to when we were kids! And I'm not positive, but I bet Djibouti wasn't a country when we were growing up. Anyway, kind of funny:)

Gina said...

Love the montage. Really cute. I felt like I was there -- even under the table. Great job. Happy New Year!

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