In Search of Coffee, Vanilla and Monarch Butterflies

In July, my mother said she was considering a trip she read about in the Denver Botanic Gardens’ newsletter to “chase the monarch butterflies” in Mexico with my stepfather.  Wow, I thought, that would be incredible!”.  But, when she mentioned it, I was in the middle of a busy summer and was soon after swept into the tidal wave that is life as a blogger, Mindfulness teacher (with new (paid!) gigs), mother-of-three-teens, Vice President of the high school PTSA, wife, daughter, sister (read “life”).

In October, she said “We’re going. You could come with us!”.  “Oh, I couldn’t possibly!” (read “too busy with life”).  She and my step-dad booked their flights and tours through the Reefs to Rockies tour company.’  I was excited for them and thought I wanna go! [but I can’t possibly leave my husband during Valentine’s Day and my oldest right before her 18th birthday]).

The fall flew by, my dad and I renovated my office at Newport Street Retreat and I dug in deeper to my business, teaching Mindfulness at the local elementary school and booking more Mindfulness sessions at the local middle school, I helped make Angel Talks a reality and grow the committees on the PTSA (#MindfulnessAboutOurCommunity), I meditated daily, and joined the After Prom Committee as the Sustainability Co-Chair and agreed to be the Sustainability Chair of the Park Hill Home Tour again for 2019.  Again, life.  But I really wanted to go.  But, I never talked about it…just imagined how incredible it would be.

Several years ago, I dragged my kids to see the IMAX film about the migration of the Monarch butterflies.  I was so enthralled with the end result of watching several generations of these beautiful orange-and-black-spotted pollinators’ journey from Canada to Mexico in about a year’s time.  Seeking milkweed, tithonia and other pollinator-supporting flora, these dedicated, iconic pollinators overcome natural and unnatural predators, climate change, development and ignorance in their effort to survive.

So, when my mom brought up this #ecotour, I knew exactly what it meant: huge trees covered in beautiful, orange and black butterflies instinctively and peacefully keeping each other warm in Mexico.  And, I could witness that in person!

Late January rolled around and my step-father had to have surgery for his gumball-sized kidney stones.  My mother said “I don’t know if he can make the trip.  I don’t suppose you can go?”.  I had an uncomfortable conversation with my husband and an awkward conversation with my almost-18-year-old. and cleared some space, cancelled about four appointments, got coverage for my meetings and yoga cleaning, and applied for a United Explorer Visa and booked the tickets.  It was surprisingly easy to step out of my “oh-so-busy” life and into an 18-passenger van with a bunch of botany geeks.  And, my step-dad can stay home, rest and recover from his surgery.

So, here I am, bouncing around Mexico for nine days learning about all sorts of things on a level I never could have dreamed…in search of coffee, vanilla and monarch butterflies….

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