Miracle of the Monarchs

The annual migration of butterflies to remote Mexican mountaintops is one of Creation’s most awe-inspiring mysteries.

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Published in The United Church Observer in May 2012

How often do you have the chance to witness a miracle? In just a couple of hours, I’m about to see one.

I’ve flown four hours from Hamilton to Mexico, rode three hours in a taxi from Mexico City, and am now on a 90-minute horseback ride up the 3,000-metre Cerro Pelon mountain to visit a sacred place.

It has been roughly the same migratory path - minus the potential of surly seatmates - that tens of millions of monarch butterflies took just a few months before in the fall as they made their way from their summer breeding homes in Canada and the United States to their winter getaway in the mountains of Mexico.

It took me less than 10 hours of travel time to make the 4,500-kilometre journey. It takes the butterflies two months.

I am here to experience one of nature’s finest magic shows: millions of delicate orange and black creatures congregating in heavy clusters on the soaring oyamel fir trees near the top of this mountain.

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