I find that I need to get out to stretch my legs and ease my back on long car rides, especially if I am driving alone. The urge to move a bit and take biology breaks add extra time to the journey, but also afford an opportunity for exploring. The Wisconsin rest stops along the usual route to our Up North family are safe, clean, and often quite scenic and most have historical markers or honors to veterans. The scenery becomes more breathtaking, the terrain more varied, as the road wends northward. The trip remains just as interesting on the return route.
The weather could not have been better Tuesday as I headed south toward home. Finding myself in need of a walk, I decided to exit the interstate in Janesville and visit the Rotary Botanical Gardens there. It is a mile or so from the exit and a little piece of paradise, much of which is maintained by volunteers.
So . . . I took a little walkabout down the paths and through the gardens, working the kinks out of my muscles and shaking the cobwebs from my brain.
The flowers were in full form with a riot of color and texture and scents – and the pollinators were busy feeding from the many garden hosts.
Moths and bees and butterflies flitted as if on their last fling before school starts.
The gardens were just what my heart and soul needed, along with my muscles and bones. Being in nature always renews my spirit and calms my everyday worries, while giving me a chance to exhale.
I walked and sat and walked some more, wondering how the Antler Man was getting along on the Cutoff. I was thinking how encouraging it was to see so many bees and moths and butterflies when a Monarch floated by, looking for a place to rest.
There has been fretting over the Monarchs again this year. Last year brought some hope that their numbers were on the upswing, but, this summer their numbers seem to be down and I have spotted only one on our little acreage on the Cutoff. There is an abundance of milkweed and butterfly weed and other host plants, but nary a Monarch egg nor caterpillar to be found.
The Monarch danced on the breeze and the landed on the big, green chair which is seen in the background of the photo above on the left, basking in the sun and casting shadows in the most magical of ways.
Renewed and revitalized, I walked back to the car and set to navigating the last leg of my journey home with a sense of wonder that always befalls me in among flowers and trees and God’s good earth. As I drove back toward the concrete lanes of the interstate highway, the shadows of the Monarch cast a wee bit of wonder in my mind at how this one regal member of butterfly royalty happened to find me miles and miles from home.