They settled in the valley below Sentinel Peak—to feed, mate, and rest from a long journey, as monarch butterflies do. They flutter about half-tired, half-excited, traversing their local environs along lines, like ants. They have flown a long migration to home never seen; and now I see them, join them, directed in some way as they are, to leave friendly surroundings, pulled to unknown and much anticipated home. It’s not so much that we want to leave as it is that we feel naturally and illogically pulled to another place.
I climbed above them this morning, summited a cone-shaped mountain, Sentinal Peak, just west of Tucson. From there, I looked down as a fluttering monarch might, on home I had never seen. Compelled to fly here, strongly and nonsensically, to live here a month, to explore these desolate mountains and deserts and report on conditions of scorched saguaros and ancient uplifted rock.
Last evening, I settled into a small floorplan at this motel and, on this New Years Eve, this eve of a new adventure, explored my immediate neighborhood. I felt the culmination of a vibration that had pulled me here and away from home that was, away from what was good. It’s not a search for home that drives me, but, like the butterfly, an urge to go. I feel her inexplicable sense as to which direction; her simple and natural following a call. Perhaps there remains in some of us an unidentified string of junk DNA shared in common with certain kinds of birds and butterflies.
Sentinal Peak viewed from Tucson has an “A” on its side, put there to exalt the University of Arizona. Back in the 1950s, a “T” adorned the side of Hennigher Flat above Pasadena, cleared from of chaparral by students at Caltech. I wonder if the propriety of such intrusions will reach Tucson.