On Milkweed and Its Precious Life Lessons

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    You may have heard, or maybe not, that Milkweed is an important wildflower. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed because milkweed is toxic. By relying on a food source that tastes terrible, and that is poisonous to many predators, they are able to contently flutter around Canada in the summertime making us point, smile and sigh, often exciting our sense of wonder. 

    When the temperature begins to drop in central or western Canada, these delicate creatures drift thousands of kilometres south, to California or Mexico.

    Unfortunately, along with the monarchs, milkweed (it’s not actually a weed, by the way) has been in decline since the ‘50s. While some scientists believe that this is due to genetically modified crops, others argue that the monarch populations are affected by global warming. Our world is changing. That’s for certain. 

    It’s one thing to read about the monarch, another to watch thousands of butterflies huddle on the Oyamel fir trees in the Mexican forests, and it’s yet another to contemplate their purpose. 

    We all spend time mulling over why we are here and what we are meant to be/do with this one beautiful life. Aside from demonstrating that fragility and strength can coexist, our fluttery friends also teach us the power of instinct; the power of transformation and that consistency is key.

    Have you ever considered that within this chaotic, and the seemingly problem-riddled world that many of the answers to our burning questions are right in our backyards? Sometimes in the most unsuspecting places, like on milkweed. They are not buried under cinder blocks and rubble. They don’t require archeology and excavation. 

    Patience can be found in the blooming of buds, transformation in chrysalis, and colonized insects show us the function of teamwork. We are part of a million lives and lifetimes and the bigger picture sometimes means we stop looking so far to the horizon. 

    Maybe it’s time to plant milkweed. The Monarchs are calling. 

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