The roar of jet engines overhead got me out of my desk chair quickly and out to my rooftop deck. While the two military craft swiftly buzzing the Grand Prix went swiftly out of sight, I was treated to another – silent, fluttering, it could have been a leaf rustled up from the jets’ wake, but this was alive – a Monarch Butterfly adrift in the blue sky on its pilgrimage south. And out of the blue, quite literally, another materialized. The pair danced about one another, spiraling helixically, and slowly fluttered out of my sight.
As the jets are power and speed, these fragile creatures are persistence and perseverance. Their journey ahead – to Mexico! – seems unimaginable on those tiny, paper thin wings. This third or fourth generation of the Monarchs born in this year will outlive their forebears many fold, long enough to make the trip south, hibernate, and come back to give birth to the first of next year’s generation and start the cycle all over again. (Learn more here and here.)
I’ve been fortunate these last two years to catch a glimpse of this amazing migration on two excursions of my own – brief, precious gifts of time away from our daily routines given to me by my companion. She’s successfully convinced me to take this annual pause and I’m grateful for it. Each year we’ve stayed near Lake Huron around this time and as the butterflies make their way along the shoreline, funneling towards Point Pelee before making the majority of their travel en masse. She and I had just returned from this year’s excursion (to the tip of the thumb this time – and likely a tale to be told at a later date), where we’d seen them again, and the appearance of these two over my roof in Detroit is a reminder of just how impressive their feat of travel is, here only a fraction of their way along.
The cycle of this unique journey and the particular generation of Monarch’s each year adapted to make it, mirrors their lifecycle – a metamorphosis. And as they are particularly attuned to the cycle of seasons, so in less direct ways are we. As the light of summer fades and night grows longer, we observe cycles of our own – we return to school, in general things that were more quiet ramp up with the coming of September. Within an ongoing cycle of repetition, new developments make their way into the mix. I think of my own, new mini-cycle – this annual brief get-away, as a new pattern introduced into a larger cycle, and slowly altering it in some way.
With that and thoughts of fall around the corner, we turn to the art season, (which hardly seemed to taper for the summer!) which returns in full swing this week. Already it’s a large field filled with new faces and those more familiar, and plenty of new spaces to accompany those we’ve been accustomed to finding on our own cycles of exhibition viewing. They’ll all be opening their doors and offering their own particular take on human creativity – a cycle that emerged as long as we could contemplate what we were and what it’s all about, anyway.
This web-magazine too, is at the beginning of another annual cycle – put in motion now five years previous. With this comes many things that have been here before, and there are many things about to come, as we metamorphosize on this journey.
But I’ll share more about the future and the start of year six soon. In the meantime, I hope you all have another moment to pause, to celebrate the beauty of these cycles we are a part of and those that we create, and feel renewed, refreshed, and ready for your journeys to come. Safe travels. – Nick Sousanis
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