As much as I am my father’s daughter, there is a lot of my mom shoved in there. One of my favorite things about my mom is random information. Should I be too lazy to Google something, I often use Moogle (that’s Mom Google). And her forte is animals and biology. Growing up, fun weekend activities included a lot of science-y things. With…I want to say the Brownies, but possibly school, we collected owl pellets and pulled them apart to find the tiny bones of mice and other small mammals that we pieced together to find out what the owl ate.
We also once found a cat skeleton in the ivy at our old house. The cat must have been there long before we had. My mom bleached the bones and we glued them together on the top of an old pizza box with the help of one of my mom’s old anatomy books. These are not the things of normal childhood, and in today’s world, I’m guessing even more odd. But to me, it was amazing.
Another thing my mom loves are monarchs. She often spoke of (and still does sometimes) of going down to Monterey to see the Monarch butterflies. I remember when I was younger I was there for one trip too, out to Pacific Grove. I don’t remember seeing any, and we were probably off season. (though a couple years ago I was able to see some in the trees near Santa Cruz) The population there (as well as most places) has gone down dramatically over the past several decades, but what I remember is finding the ever occasional dead butterfly near our home. Nothing serious, just a butterfly’s life span (which, is not very long). I was told…which is true, never touch a butterfly’s wings. The powder on their wings is essential for flight, and the oils on our hands will ruin them. But, once deceased, fair game. I had a small box (which probably once housed a cherished necklace from my grandmother, with a small square of foam or tissue, and I would keep dead butterflies that I had found in this box. In fact, I would not be surprised if these butterflies were still in my childhood bedroom or closet. Ahhh the things I will find when my parent’s move, or worse, and I’m forced to finally go clean out everything.
So, yeah…long story short…here’s a monarch butterfly! The most fascinating (in my opinion) butterfly around. A very west coast butterfly traveling from Northern California down to Mexico and back, year after year. Rumor has it, even in the North Bay, if you plant Milkweed, it takes a couple years, but they will find it, and come back to your house for snacks.
Medium: Pigments from Roussillon, water added to make a watercolor, Permanent Ink
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