Sara Dykman rode her bicycle over ten thousand miles following the monarch butterfly migration, a journey captured in her “Bicycling with Butterflies.” Okay, makes my little cycling jaunts seem inconsequential. For those of you thinking you should read this book for geeky, in-depth bike nerdiness, you will be disappointed. Sara rode an ancient mountain bike with homemade racks and makeshift components. She is living proof it ain’t about the bike.
This does not count the loss of habitat in both Canada and Mexico where portions of the migration route exists. Dykman is no stranger to adventure. Her previous exploits include walking from Canada to Mexico, canoeing the Missouri River from source to sea and cycling over 80,000 miles across North and South America. Good grief. I find these people so motivating it makes my head spin.
But at heart Dykman isn’t an adventurer. She is an naturalist who happens to travel via less popular means. Her heart beats to the animals and insects she observes. She endures more than you can imagine on her migration journey including aggressive drivers, border crossings and inclement weather but is also the recipient of the kindness of strangers. Monarchs need milkweed, a plant that is mostly misunderstood and mostly mowed down by mowers all across the migration route. Thankfully there are a bastion of monarch lovers who have built small patches of monarch habitat all along the route.
This book is a subtle reminder of what’s at stake in our world. The monarch being one small piece of a the global ecosystem that is under siege by an overpopulated world and the lethargy of those who can’t be bothered.