Letter from Estela

17 de Octubre de 2017


Dear Friends,

We say hello to all of you from our beautiful town, Angangueo, in Central México! We want to share our happiness with you since our town, our forests, and we the people in town are so proud to welcome Monarchs to their winter home in only a few weeks.

As usual, we have just had a particularly intense rainy summer, with high humidity. Wherever we look, it is so beautifully green with streams and rivers carrying water, flowers providing nectar for Monarchs starting to bloom all over, and our families organizing for one of our biggest festivities, The Day of the Dead.

It’s time for me to go around town hearing that typical joy of adults and children as they go into the streets ready to shout: ‘The time has come, Monarchs and Day of the Dead are almost here!’

This is what some our our children and youngsters expressed to all of you as a very special and welcoming message today in order to declare our season about to open:

Arturo, age 12, attending grade 6, and Juan Martín age 10, attending 5th grade, both elementary school students living nearby El Cerrito, one of the main stopping points for Monarchs upon their arrival, told me:

“Yes Estela, we are sure that Monarchs won’t pop up any time now, since it seems we might have some rain still. But yes! They are coming soon! It just feels like it — it just kind of smells that Monarchs and Day of the Dead will be here soon.”

Some more steps ahead, Little Alan and Brittany both age 5 attending Kinder Garden, and Rodrigo age 6 attending 1st Grade Elementary, told me:

“Yes! We have heard Mom and Dad and our Grandpas telling each other it is almost time to see the first Monarchs arriving. We have heard they are so happy, since some relatives of ours do some souvenirs at home in order to sell them to tourists.”

“Is it really true that they are coming from so far away - and that we are such a special region in the world they choose to spend the winter with us, Estelita?”

“We love to see our parents and grandparents starting to make preparations for the day of the Day of the Dead as they speak about Monarchs coming as our Dead ones souls, all as part of our great festivities.”

I moved on to another entrance point in town, where Manuel 10, Ana 11, Rocío 11, and Laurita 9, shouted as soon as they saw me:

“Not yet, Estela, not yet. Not one single Monarch anywhere, too soon.”

They expressed themselves just like little biologists, so sure of themselves showing they are natives from our homeland really knowing about Monarchs’ arrival, since they are generations which life has been surrounded by the Monarchs’ phenomenon.

“You see, Estela, perhaps you can observe that from all the flowers blooming. Some are just coming but still not blooming full open at all. You can calculate the time. The first Monarchs will not appear until these few flower species are blooming full. Keep observing, Estelita.”

I couldn’t help but keep frozen and not a word could come out to respond to them; they sounded just like experts on Monarchs. I felt so proud of them!

At the beautiful mural background, another group of friends asked me to send a message to Northern children living where Matusalén Monarchs come from. They told me:

“Oh, Estela, we are so fortunate to almost welcome Monarchs once again, no earthquakes as in other parts of our country, no fear, no suffering, since our parents and grandparents assure to us that our homeland is not at all vulnerable to earthquakes. How lucky we are that Monarchs and Day of the Dead are coming to fill our town with tourists and festivities!”

Finally, David 10, Minerva 6, and Mariana 8, children whose parents work at Oyamel tree nurseries for re-foresting the woods around surrounding the Monarchs Sanctuaries, assured me:

“No, we have not seen one Monarch flying over anywhere yet, but once anyone in town sees the first ones coming, they will shout it out loud all over, so we all will know it at once!”

At the same time, the fantastic group of  mid-school youngsters, Jocelyn, Karla, Elena, José Juan, Patricia, Sara and Maricela, standing at the back of David, Minerva and Mariana, were passing by and joined us for the photo and the welcoming message. They expressed: 

“Estela, lots of terrible natural events are going on in the world right now; some parts in México, including some historic towns like Angangueo, have been terribly damaged by the earthquakes last September. Fortunately, our teachers and parents have assured us that historically Angangueo has never been vulnerable to such phenomenons, however we have other kinds of risks, like landslides, intense rain, and still some clandestine deforestation. We hope that our rich history having been such a rich mining town in the past and being for decades now the Winter-home for Monarchs, make us all value and appreciate more than ever the treasure we have been born with in our hometown!”

I felt so proud and relieved to hear that our sense of responsibility seems to be everywhere now, either in little ones, youngsters, and adults aiming to preserve Monarch habitat altogether with our own survival in our dear land.

So, as you can see a sense of quietness and joy and restlessness at the arrival of Monarchs as the Souls of our Dead relatives, is now invading us all anxious to welcome both ancestral phenomenons!

We hope you will follow our weekly reports, discovering more of our culture and local life as the Concert of Monarchs announce their arrival!

Estela Romero

Journey North Reporter

Angangueo, Michoacán, México