Friday, October 9, 2015
Welcoming the Monarchs
The Yarn Retreat book I’m writing now, GONE WITH THE WOOL, takes place at exactly this time of year in the fictitious town of Cadbury by the Sea, California. Cadbury is loosely based on Pacific Grove - also known at Butterfly Town U.S.A. It has that extra moniker because every year right about now thousands of Monarch Butterflies flock there and settle into a stand of trees to spend the winter.
I am using the return of the Monarch’s as a theme in the book and I’ve created a whole week of events that go on the same time as Casey Feldstein’s yarn retreat. And I had Casey arrange for the retreaters to enjoy the butterfly celebration.
After I was already making my plans for the events, I checked to see what Pacific Grove really did to mark the return of the butterflies. Frankly, I was kind of surprised that it seemed to be just a parade of a lot of little kids in Monarch wings.
My created events are so much more elaborate. I have a court of butterfly princesses trying to show off why they should be chosen queen. There is the release of sky lanterns to beckon back the butterflies, a play that dramatizes the lives of the butterflies, a visit to their sanctuary, a street fair and finally a big parade where the queen is announced.
I’d really like to go to my events. I can just picture watching the sky lanterns float into the sky – bits of light as they sail off over the ocean. In case anyone doesn’t know what a sky lantern is – basically it is a cylinder of special paper on a metal frame. Kind of like an upside down lampshade. Something like a folded up paper towel is dipped into fuel like liquid candle wax and attached to the piece of metal across the bottom. Then the fuel is ignited which heats the air and the lantern takes off like a hot air balloon.
I have been to the real Monarch Sanctuary and have seen trees that look like they are covered with leaves until you see that the so-called leaves are moving and are really the underside of thousands of butterfly wings. As the air warms, the Monarchs leave their perches and swirl around showing off their striking orange and black wings.
My celebration has a Lord of the Butterflies presiding over the play, a crochet a Monarch make and take event, face painting by a murder suspect and an exciting parade full of surprises.
When the book comes out next July maybe the Pacific Grove people will see it and want to adopt some of my ideas - well, maybe not the face painting by a murder suspect. If they do, I’ll be there.