“But it’s cold out there.”
“It’s cool but the sun is shining. I’ll carry you to a place where you’re protected from the wind.”
“We like it inside in our crate where it’s warm and safe. We like the oranges, grapes, and the aster bouquet you picked for us.”
“Where are we going?”
“You’re going to Mexico for All Soul’s Day. Your bodies will know when you’ve sipped enough aster nectar and the wind blows from the north. You’ll lift your wings and soar. I promise you’ll know and go without fear. Along the way, you’ll rest and find more nectar. I offer each of you a prayer of protection for the journey.”
“I like it here.”
The smallest one opens her wings to a ray of sun coming through the window. Orange, black, and white patterns spread to receive the warmth. I want her to stay, too.
I place my finger in front of the larger of the two. She climbs on board and I lower her into a plastic container with a bamboo towel bottom she can grip. She flutters and settles. Then I coax the smaller butterfly off the asters with my finger, put her in the container, and close the lid. They flutter together, but quiet soon.
Carrying the butterflies and followed by dogs, I walk west down the hill toward iridescent red maples and turn south into a protected cove lush with asters and goldenrod. The wind is quiet here.
I remove the lid and put my hand inside. The biggest girl climbs on, gripping gently with little pincher feet.
“There will be more and more butterflies when you get closer to Mexico. In Michoacán at the Biopreserve, there will be millions of Monarchs. They’ll call you ‘Mariposa’ there. You live an isolated life here, but you’ll meet a large family there.”
“Will they like us?” the little one asks.
“The Monarchs will welcome you, and school children wait for you. They’ll celebrate with flowers when you arrive. They see you as souls of the dead, arriving from unknown lands. They won’t know about the life you led here with me. It’s our secret.
“Blessings on your journey, Little Friends. I’ll miss you, but I promise you won’t have trouble crossing the border. Spread your wings and have faith.”
My conversation with the Monarchs uses a Jungian technique called Active Imagination. We often speak inwardly to things that don’t speak back to us in words, just as we have conversations with the dead. Active imagination helps make these inner dialogues conscious. My imagined conversation with the butterflies brings me into the depth of my feeling for them, my sadness about their leaving, and my faith they will return.