someplace warm where there are things to eat

An adult Monarch butterfly lives only about four to five weeks. But one of the many wonders of the Monarchs is the annual creation of a unique “Methuselah generation.” As autumn approaches in their sites of migratory origin, a very special generation of butterflies is born. Unlike their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents — all of whom had ephemeral lives measured only in weeks — these migratory butterflies survive seven or eight months.

This generation performs the incredible feat of flying from Canada and the United States to the center of Mexico — after which they begin the northward journey again. Once they reach the United States, a kind of relay race begins: their short-lived offspring, with only four or five weeks to live, continue making the trek northward over several generations.

Of all migrations by small creatures, few are as astonishing as the one performed by the Monarch butterfly. The embodiment of fragility, these insects travel between 1,200 and 2,800 miles or more between their starting and ending points — a feat without parallel.

World Wildlife Fund

How was I unaware of this butterfly’s secret? I thought the Monarch was common and not such a big deal. Hello world, these guys are a big freaking deal. Think about how a butterfly flies, bumping up and down and flitting around–they look like the aren’t really headed anywhere, just trying to catch your eye. And maybe that is because many Monarchs are of the “ephemeral” generations and not the long distance runners. But, as I understand it, the migratory generation of Monarchs is exactly the same insect as the ones that live only a few weeks. The migrators live longer out of necessity. They fly unimaginable distances because they have to. The survival of their species depends on getting to someplace warm where there are things to eat.

Sometimes I feel the same way.

yum, reading

Had not the best of days. But, I came home to a present in my mailbox. In a hand addressed (!) envelope, my copy of trnsfr magazine. I just ordered it last week. Without having read a word of this journal, I already love it because they send things quickly, they address envelopes in such cute writing, and it is clearly assembled with lots of tlc. I want to eat it. I took a few pictures just to be a dork.

Ok, this is the cover. Inside that little flap is the opening few lines of J.A. Tyler’s story. A teaser. (Also featured in this picture, my dog cuddling the new Wilco album. It was so good he had to nap really hard after listening.)

There are half a dozen postcards bound in between the other fiction. They each tell a compressed life story by Michael Kimball. Also, see that little birdie on the right? That is one frame from a flip movie. This thing is chock full of goodies.

Tucked inside the back flap is a broadside–“Snowfall” by Paul Maliszewski–a story comprised of letters addressed “Dear President Bush.”

trnsfr No.3. Super cool. Can’t wait to read it. I’m sure the fiction is even cooler than the assembly. (I want to do something like this online and in print. Beth? Are you listening?)

“Why was it that we always derstood each other?”

And he swam through the blue daytime ocean and the navy storming ocean, the cold black ocean under a moon or a half moon or no moon at all, and each night of his swimming a different moon was there, and the moon’s slow wink was all for him, for his solitude, for his dedication, for his perseverance, for his tiny little self that kept going on across the constant plane of water, water, water and no one who loved him and nothing he knew and no others to swim with at all. I wonder if he ever came to depend on the great nothing he’d found out there, to spend time with it like it was his only friend, his whole community, the lover he loved the most. I wonder if the nothing became something to him; I wonder if that happened because it had to, because otherwise he’d collapse under the weight of his isolation.

excerpted from (Unsent Unwritten letter to Husband) by Catherine Lacey on elimae.

This story is incredible. Seriously. Wow. Can someone please submit something this good to Hot Metal Bridge now, please?

traveling undetected

Tonight I stumbled across an encyclopedia entry on ultrasound. Ultrasound is a vibration too high frequency to be audible. It was first developed to locate submerged objects. Submarines. Depth charges. Atlantis and such. Some animals like bats, dolphins and dogs can hear within the ultrasonic frequency. But no human can. No one can truly know what anyone thinks or feels. What’s inside Mum? What’s inside Dad? What’s inside Jordana? We’re all traveling under the radar, undetected. No one can do a thing about it.

Oliver Tate in Submarine