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“He who binds to himself a joy,
Does the winged life destroy.
He who catches the joy as it flies,
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.”
                                    William Blake 

Fall is here and the Monarchs are on the move.  The garden is alive with their flitterings and flutterings as they sip enough nectar to make the journey to their wintering grounds in Mexico…or, perhaps, to lay a few more eggs on the orange and yellow asclepias—passing brief life on to the next generation.

There is nothing in my opinion more beautiful and life affirming than a Monarch butterfly.

From egg, to caterpillar,

to chrysalis, to adult—

—the life cycle of the Monarch offers hope and assurance in a world starved for both.

Because the days have been so hot, I haven’t been sitting outside much.  But one evening this past week, when the air was cool with a light breeze, Gentleman Farmer husband and I sat outside on the porch and marveled at the Dance of the Monarchs.

We also were blessed to witness the opening of the first moonflower for the evening.  My heart literally quickens at the sight of it, and I marveled as two other moonflowers unfurled in quick succession.

One of my all-time favorite books is The Moonflower Vine, by Jetta Carlton, a semi-autobiographical novel set in early twentieth century Missouri.  I read the book for the first time when I was about twelve.  I have read it many, many times since.  It informed my longing as a child to live in an old country farmhouse surrounded by fields and flowers. It helped me to understand the complexities and joys of love and marriage and life.  And it has influenced my plant choices as a grandmother-gardener.

A moonflower blooms at night—a six-inch, fragrant, pure white bloom, full and bright in early evening light.  It has only this one brief moment in which to share its reason to be.

When the sun lays hot and red on the western horizon, our habit is to retreat inside.  There are plates to fill and news flashes to catch. I need to remind myself that, while political rants and economic woes blare from the television set inside, a world of unsurpassable beauty is unfurling outside.

In the dying of the day, unnoticed and unsung, the moonflowers bloom and the monarchs dance, accomplishing perfectly what they are created to do.

And, once again, I am blessed.

“O world, as God has made it!  All is beauty.”
Robert Browning