Reminiscing about life ~ Earth Day, April 22, 2020

It feels good to be writing again. This pandemic sapped my energy and creativity. I’m glad I took some time off to work on projects around the house. It helped me to settle into this new normalcy.

Last week, we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary, and last Saturday was my birthday. Life feels more precious now, and some days I’m overwhelmed with gratitude at the time we’ve been allowed to spend together. How treasured these days are.

Ron and I spent the day together working in the garden, planting seeds, barbecuing, and enjoying the cooler temperatures for this time of year. I even ate gluten-free chocolate cake!

Later in the evening, I watched a concert special on television with my best friend, Debby Gies, both of us on a chat-link, chattering away to each other on Messenger. We had some great laughs and a few tears over the more emotional songs.

My daughter, Amy, who lives in Florida, sent me a most precious photo-gift. She’s an avid gardener who works for a gardening center. Amy grows plants that attract the butterflies. Saving the butterflies has become her lifelong ambition.

Three monarch butterflies (all females) were born on my birthday! The number three has always held special significance to me: Past, Present, and Future… Three is also a magical number. My three wishes have been granted. The mother goddess blesses us in wonderful ways.

Did you know that like all butterflies, monarchs lay their eggs on “host plants.” These plants are the only plants their caterpillars can eat, and for monarchs, milkweed is their only host plant. (blognwf.com)

Amy grows milkweed by the bucket loads, even sharing it with her neighbors so the butterflies have a place to propagate.

In Arizona and Florida, we call it butterfly weed, but there are many kinds of milkweed. Check out the Twelve Native Milkweeds for Monarchs HERE.

Image Credit: blognwf.org

This pandemic has taught me to redefine the areas in my life where I can control the outcomes. For this crisis is a wake-up call. We must take care of where we live, and who we are. We must care for the plants, animals, insects, and humans that dwell on our planet. We must learn to think as one. We are the butterflies, and our planet is the milkweed.

plant milkweed today—
save the monarch butterfly
safeguard our future

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

87 comments

  1. A lovely message and photos. Those blooms on the cactus are beautiful.
    I’m so glad you had a wonderful birthday.
    Earlier today we bought some milkweed and a couple of other native plants that are bee/bird friendly from a local place that a friend recommended.

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  2. You are so right, Colleen! This pandemic should be seen as an important reflective moment for us all.

    Monarch butterflies are beautiful! Your daughter is doing great work.

    Happy belated birthday and anniversary. I have never done gardening, but I bet it must be relaxing.

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    1. Cendrine, thanks for your lovely comments. Gardening and connecting with nature is a sort of poetic meditation. I’m always thrilled when my seeds germinate into a strong plant. This year, we planted some green beans, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes. I have some green onions coming in, as well. I find my inspiration in the garden. ❤

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  3. Lovely to hear you’ve been making the most of this strange time in your house and garden – that’s exactly what we are doing too. It seems like a wonderful opportunity to reset our defaults and change perspective on what is truly important in our lives.
    This is a once in a generation chance for the human race to do this as a species, and we can only hope and pray that enough people make the changes that perhaps will save our planet. It has certainly been a blatant wake up call.
    Stay well, stay safe, and keep supporting nature ❤

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  4. How precious to share your birthday with three monarchs! I love the image of you and Debby sharing moments, laughter, tears and a concert digitally. Many blessings to you and our sweet, one Earth.

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    1. Thanks, Charli. Debby and I really connected after trump was elected. Almost every night of the last three plus years of his presidency, we meet online. Normally, we watch MSNBC. There’s a 3 hour time difference between Debby in Toronto and me in Buckeye, AZ. How she stays up so late I don’t know. LOL! That camaraderie is rare to find. She is a real gem to put up with me. LOL! ❤

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  5. Curious… as to how to grow milkweed. I’ve some wild in my yard. But I’ve got friends who can’t seem to grow it. My Monarchs also like Butterfly Bushes… I think there actually are other plants Monarchs will eat if milkweed isn’t around.

    Some folks grow the caterpillars when they find them. I haven’t had success with that. But I know others who have. They find the single tiny pearl egg on the underside of the milkweed and bring it in… there are sites dedicated to the ‘how to of it all’.

    I have some photos of the Monarchs in my yard… If I can find them I’ll send you one or two 🙂

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      1. I’m sure seeds can be bought here… but since I’ve got some… it’s just that person – but I think they may have gotten some from the birds last year 😉

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  6. Quite a different garden where you live now, I’m sure! We too have cacti with beautiful blooms–not quite yet this year. Except for this little tiny one, about fist sized, that blooms almost continuously these little tiny white flowers the size of those push-pins with a plastic knob top.

    Have seen no Monarchs at our place, but I do have an interesting childhood memory. I might have been eight or nine when I brought home the caterpillar. I put it in a jar, probably an empty peanut butter one. Punched holes in the lid and put in some vegetative matter. Can’t be sure now whether it was milkweed, but we had it in Minnesota. In a few days a shiny green chrysalis hung from the lid. Some time later a butterfly emerged. As I opened the lid, the Monarch climbed onto my finger and uncurled it’s long tongue, touching my hand. After sharing it briefly with my mother, I let it go outside.

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    1. What a splendid gift, John! That’s a marvelous memory! It’s quite a bit warmer here in western Arizona with temperatures forecast to reach 100 degrees this week. I walk early in the morning, so I miss the worst of the heat.

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  7. Happy birthday and anniversary to you, Colleen. It seems like many people have the same dragging feeling over this pandemic. So wonderful to hear you and Ron planting seeds and caring the garden. I started doing that also once the rain stopped. Thank you for the link for the butterfly Milkweed. I’ll follow up on several that grow in California.

    Happy Earth Day. Stay safe and well. ❤

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      1. Happy birthday and Anniversary xo I love three Monarchs hatched on your birthday. What a gift and beautiful picture! I’m just getting back into writing. I am able to write about nature again and ideas are starting to flow. It was definitely an adjustment phase for all of us. Sending hugs!

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  8. Wow, such a beautiful post and analogies about the butterflies Sis. Yes, we are the butterflies and our planet is our milkweed. Beautifully done. And loved the birthday concert ❤

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  9. I remember gathering milkweed to feed the caterpillars we put in a blueberry net to watch them escape from chrysalises. They were safe from birds (mostly) under there until we let them off to the south! Wonderful piece of nostalgia you brought on.

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  10. Happy Anniversary to you and Ron and Happy Birthday, Colleen. I love that you and Debby shared the concert and the pictures of your garden, especially the Monarchs. Nature is a precious gift. ❤ to you Colleen, always. ❤

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  11. Sounds like you’re having a good week, despite the cauldron of uncertainty outside our doors. I like your take-away. If only humans would keep that in mind after this is all behind us. Photos of clear skies over normally smoggy cities, urban wildlife, and all the rest that nature is trying to show us.

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  12. I love your new garden, Colleen. I don’t know why, but it reminded me of a Mediterranean garden. Those cool temperatures sound ideal for me.

    I’m so pleased that Ron and you have settled into your new home. Now the painting work is done, I hope you can both rest a little.

    If there is one thing I am thankful for at the moment, it is the fact that mother nature is healing our earth. Carbon emissions are down, and other animals seem to be making great use of our empty towns and cities.

    Wishing you belated Happy Birthday and wedding anniversary.

    Take care and stay safe.
    Hugs.

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    1. Thanks so much Hugh. I find these lovely gardens on my morning walks. Mine is coming along. I’m thinking about adding some cactus to our garden this fall when the heat won’t burn them up. I do love it here in Arizona. The heat has arrived and summer is here. 🥵

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  13. Thoughts of caterpillars always brings me back to childhood. I forgot what that tree/ bush was. But they loved it. I got to see the whole lifecycle happen. More than once. Such daydreaming and wonder went on with this. Fun times! Happy birthday, Al lovely gift from your daughter. Now I want to go find milkweed and get going with helping their propogation.😊.

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  14. Happy anniversary and birthday Colleen and wishing you much happiness and laughter in the many years to come. Love the photographs and your daughter’s work on behalf of butterflies is inspiring.. I have plants that our species are enjoying and I love sitting in the sunshine and watching them at work… thanks for sharing. ♥

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  15. Belated happy Earth Day, congratulations on 35 years of marriage, I’m glad you had a wonderful birthday despite the current situation, and that’s great news about the birth of the butterflies.

    I’ve struggled with creativity over the past few weeks too. I’m starting to feel like I can turn to my writing again now though. I hope you can say the same. *hugs*

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comments, Tori. I am getting back to my writing, although it’s been slow. I think this virus will be around for a long while, so we have to move forward and continue to live. We’re still taking precautions, nonetheless. Hope all is well with you. ❤

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      1. Things are about as good as the situation will allow for with me. I’m still struggling with some anxiety-related issues, but not as badly as I was at first, and I’m starting to feel like I can be creative and productive again, like I said. I agree this isn’t going away any time soon… I just needed time to adjust to the new normal. When things change again, I dare say I’ll need time to adjust to that too. But I’ll deal with that when the time comes.

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