(Painted Lady Butterflies in San Diego*)
Like spirits, they will dart across our path
in drifts, and zig-zag past our cheeks and hands
just out of reach, and whirling toward a land
far north of us, by predetermined math.
It seems a miracle—winged migration—
almost as hard to fathom as moon flight.
What tiny compass guides them day and night
in rivers of raw determination?
Their journey symbolizes more than hope:
They breathe into each moment the belief
that happiness as real and bright as wings
is just ahead—and therefore we can cope,
and fill heavy hearts with newfound lightness,
and bathe a moment more in their brightness.
*March 2019: Record numbers of Painted Lady butterflies migrate from Mexico to the Pacific Northwest; the exact location is embedded in the genes they pass along to their offspring. Multiple generations of each starting butterfly are required to complete the journey.