Hurry and the Monarch

 Monarch (Danaus plexippus) on our corn (Zea mays). We'll be tending our milkweed, as we tend our corn.

"There's so many of them. Why are there so many of them?" Beren asks pointing to a painting of migrating monarch butterflies. His finger traces over an increasingly blurry haze of orange as the monarchs continue their flight into the distance. "They're going so far."

We were reading Hurry and the Monarch, a children's story about a monarch butterfly and a tortoise. At about page four, my voice cracked. I paused but could not regain composure. I whispered a few sentences and allowed time for us to linger over the illustrations.

I considered a possible extinction during my child's lifetime. Extinction of, a once very common, very iconic insect. It's likely there will be many extinctions during his lifetime.

"Momma, what if a dead animal decides it doesn't want to be dead?" Beren recently asked. I thought over my response. "Once something is dead it doesn't breathe anymore. It doesn't play anymore. It doesn't walk anymore. That's it." Beren looked at me, and that's where we left it.