The end is upon us… the end of summer, that is. Not only does my calendar tell me so, but the fact that I had to add one more blanket to my bed last night, and then needed to rustle up a pair of gloves for my morning walk, made the truth more evident. Recently, my sister lamented that she has already packed away her “summer uniform” – a uniform which matches mine exactly – khaki shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt, and has now pulled out jeans and sweaters for the long months ahead. Oh, but I am sad to see summer go. How to grieve the loss of warm sunshine and the beautiful shades of green, other than by walking around with a frown, wearing an old fleece jacket and sweat pants?
Today I am happy to report that I have discovered what feels like a perfect and very concrete way to grieve the loss of my beloved season, as well give myself hope for the summer which is bound to return.
I am not much of a gardener, but I am a nature lover. These last two months, I have noticed that the rain garden at my St. Paul church has been attracting droves of monarch butterflies! And what pleasure it is to see these elegant creatures flit from flower to flower. Get close enough, and you can even see them sipping nectar from the blossoms.
So, I did some research: how best to ensure that these regal (and endangered) butterflies keep returning to our garden every summer? Through that digging, I found an organization called monarchwatch.org. They have a recipe of sorts – how to build a monarch-friendly habitat. It turns out our church rain garden had all the elements, including milkweed and “nectar plants”. So, I sent in an application, and we’ve done it, we’ve become official, and we have the sign to prove it! We are now a certified Monarch Waystation. I am so proud.
So, I will say goodbye and grieve my most favorite of seasons. But every few weeks I might brave the snow-covered sidewalks to see the Monarch Waystation sign standing in the frozen ground. It will a reminder that summer will indeed return, along with those glorious monarch butterflies.
By the way, you can do it too.