EMPERORS OF THE EUCALYPTUS: You've probably trucked out the word "profusion" on occasion, to describe something you've seen that seemed, to your eyes, to be made up of a prodigious number of individual elements. Oh, maybe there were a profusion of trick-or-treaters on your street over Halloween, or perhaps there was a profusion of candies left at the bottom of your bowl when the night was through. (We know, we know, you had to eat them, or else they'd go stale in a day.) But you may pause to review every instance in which you've employed that particular word once you call upon one of our state's hallowed Monarch butterfly groves. There's one in Pacific Grove, and the butterflies are rather sweet on Pismo Beach, and Goleta goes the grove road every November through February. Which all leads up to this: We're now entering the prime months to view a beautiful insect, or many, many beautiful insects, up in the eucalyptus trees, as they call upon Goleta during their annual migration. There's a good chance that you'll say "profusion" once or twice, seeing how those butterflies do like to cluster. And as of Nov. 16? About 500 butterflies have been reported.
THE GOODS ON THE GROVE: "The site is open sunrise to sunset with no admission fee, but the City of Goleta does accept donations to support the Monarch Butterfly Docent Program." Nice. There are a few to-knows: You should stay on the paths, and keep dogs on their leashes, and avoid making loud noises. All totally sensible stuff, of course, to keep our winged winter visitors happy. Docents are around on weekends near midday, if you want to chat with someone knowledgable about the Monarchs. Peak populations of the Monarchs, by the by, have risen in recent years, per the grove. Fingers crossed that the whole profusion thing'll be going down up in the trees on the day you choose to visit.
A GROUP OF BUTTERFLIES: You may also want to call the superstars by their collective name. "Swarm" is a popular suggestion, as is a "flutter" or a "kaleidoscope." Yeah, that sounds about right: Our California butterfly groves do welcome a veritable kaleidoscope of Monarchs each wintertime.