Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wilbo Accepts a Nature Lesson on Monarchs Outside Plumbs Supermarket from a Teacher Who Was Teaching Elementary When He Was An Elementary Student.

I pulled into Plumbs in Glenside to pickup bottled water for an event I was hosting. I noted the newspaper boxes and the Free Press box window showed a lead story on Monarchs and their decline. An intuition told me to pay attention, watch that space. It's more than my love of Monarchs that pointed up the article. A story was about to emerge.

There's an irony, the Free Press putting an article on an endangered species on the front cover of a street edition. The paper as a paper is an endangered custom!

Yes, I keep maintenance from cutting down a bank of Milkweeds in a lot between my office window and a factory. Yes, I remember seeing a branch of a maple turned into a fluttering spectacle of orange and black the fall I attained five feet of height. The tree stood south of Fowlerville near a relative's farm, and we all walked up a dirt road from the family reunion to behold the Monarchs. 

I even found a chrysalis once and kept it on our sunlit porch until it broke open and the Monarch emerged. It emerged wet and sticky and at first I thought nature had gone horribly wrong. Wings dried while I wasn't looking and my mother witnessed the fly-off while I was away at day camp.

When I emerged from the store with a case of cold water, a woman in her eighties was standing by the news boxes, and her eye caught my eye. She explained to me, "I once had the paper delivered. Do you know how to use this newspaper box?" She had a dollar in her hand. "The box takes coins. I have change in my car. Let me fetch it out for you".

By the time I had found four quarters in my dash, she had found change and she held it up between her forefinger and thumb for me to see. She looked me in the eye again. I thought about Miss Green from fourth grade and how she had caught my eyes while discussing my missing seat work. I remembered that her aqueous humours had seemed so full. I knew that term because although I was late on seat work, I had paid attention during science lessons.

She said, "I wanted to read about the Monarchs. I taught science in elementary school and the children were always fascinated by the Monarchs. Do you know how to tell a male Monarch from a female?" I admitted I did not. 

"Look at the wings. The male has a pair of spots, one on each lower wing. The female lacks them". I said I'll have to take a closer look.

I flashed back to a late summer two years ago, and I stared out my window as a male and female Monarch fluttered together in flight. The pair became one creature of wings and floated to the ground. Only briefly as the female slipped away and the male pursued. I wanted to report my witness of this mating flight, yet demurred.

Lesson time ended in a blink. The store manager walked up and with a grin said to the woman, "Hello Mrs Sailgott. Are you finding everything all right?" And she said she had been helped by me. 

I excused myself, took my leave. As I was closing the door, the manager was saying to Mrs. Sailgott "Did you know you are the nicest person I've met since moving from the south?" 

For more information about the monarch's plight, see Wednesday's Free Press article on the decline of the monarch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You write kindly and gently.