Each of us will have had certain moments in our lives when we have seen or experienced something that left us utterly speechless. Life transforming moments. Moments when we glimpse, as through a glass darkly, a grandeur in nature that no science -- no words -- can adequately describe. For me, one of those moments was a display of the aurora borealis that I witnessed from northern Indiana in the early 1960s when the whole night sky went wild with psychedelic lights. Another was my first total solar eclipse, observed from a ship in the Black Sea. And another was when I visited the Chincua monarch butterfly refuge in the mountains of central Mexico. I described the latter experience in my book The Path. Twenty million gorgeous black and yellow butterflies wintering in a tiny patch of fir trees, as thick as leaves. When the sun broke through the clouds they all took flight, a great fluttering cloud of color that hid the sky. Twenty million butterflies that had gathered there from all over eastern North America, guided by that ineffable, ineluctable agency of genes I spoke of yesterday.
Now, for the first time, conservation agencies in Mexico, the United States and Canada have joined forces to help preserve the Mexican refuges and the milkweed meadows throughout the continent upon which the monarch larvae feed. It may be a hopeless task. That the monarchs in their milling glory might vanish from the Earth is a thought too sad to be endured.