Letter from Estela Romero: An Anthem at Their Departure


Published: 03/23/2022

Dear friends,

El Rosario Colony

As mentioned last week, the El Rosario colony split on March 10-11, leaving their main location and appearing like a long orange forest extension moving down the Mountain to form another colony, a spot called Río Grande. The Rio Grande spot is located a couple of kilometers northwest, within the territory of La Salud community, inside Ejido Angangueo.

Monarchs are always unpredictable. The colony in El Rosario rearranged itself during the past week, receiving additional butterflies from surrounding areas within and beyond the El Rosario Sanctuary, perhaps even from other sanctuaries like Cerro Pelón.

“El Rosario continues to show wonderful clusters; we may still have at least a quarter of the total population we used to see during the peak days this time last February. It shall keep looking this beautiful for the next one, two, three days… half a week at the most. Temperatures signal that the sudden rush is a matter of practically hours now.” -a guide stated proudly but with nostalgia for the season’s closing.

Río Grande – La Salud Colony

Local families at La Salud community are the happiest of all villages. Their privileged location at a top edge of this southernmost mountain range hosts El Rosario Sanctuary with a cliff-like topography that funnels monarch butterflies towards the open valley and to head north around Sierra Chincua mountain range. This unique landscape affords visitors places to contemplate the phenomenal departure of monarchs, day-by-day as soon as the sun rises and warms monarchs for flight. Only a few now return to rest in the Oyamel fir trees.

Mating is still to be seen everywhere in both El Rosario and Río Grande-La Salud colonies. The monarchs take off from tree branches, meet in the air, cling to each other, then suddenly fall to ground as if they are coconut fruits falling from palm-trees, not for a moment separating.  

Both colonies, El Rosario and Río Grande-La Salud, shall soon dissolve at their definite departure as the hot sun urges their return north.

Monarch butterflies have spent a short and rather warm winter with no climate disruptions affecting their population. Locals at every sanctuary are highly optimistic that the official numbers this season will be good; all are eager to hear the official estimates.

We bid farewell and give tribute to the migratory monarch. This generation represents our ancestral rituals, the four cardinal points (East-West and South-North) and the four main elements (Earth, Air, Water and Fire). Just as our forefathers paid tribute, we also affirm natural forces so that birds shall sing, streams shall run, flowers shall bloom and the soil be sowed for seeds to fertilize. Voices in nature harmonize and become, for all time, an anthem of happiness at seeing monarchs depart north to begin the next life cycle!

Estela Romero

Angangueo, Michoacán, México.


Note to our readers: This article has been edited from the original English version for clarity.

Read the Spanish version of Estela Romero’s letter»