Monarch butterflies remind us of beauty in nature

Orange is a color that comes into its own this month: Glowing pumpkins, crisp leaves, dazzling marigolds, and for those of us lucky enough to live around here, fluttering butterflies — Monarchs to be precise — making their unlikely journey south for the winter.

One October of my childhood, a number of the evergreen trees in our yard burst into a blaze of orange as a swarm (no, really, that’s their collective noun) of Monarch butterflies arrived to rest for the night. We spent a wide-eyed evening watching these fragile creatures, and imagining how many times those paper wings would pulse in the 2,000 mile journey to sunny canyons in Mexico.

This year, when we have poured more sand than rain from our gauges, and we ponder the effects of a devastating drought on livestock and land and people and wildlife, it has been especially sweet to see those familiar little wings dipping and soaring and swooping on their timeless trail south.

Each flash of orange reminds us that nature has a grand way of carrying on through the worst of times.

When you need a little good news, don’t forget to look outside. It might be fluttering by.