October around Pacific Grove and other parts of California mean the return of the Monarch Butterflies.
BIG WIG: How do you know when you're a real honcho and kind of a big deal in points all over? When a town's chamber of commerce devotes a web page to you and hotels build stay-over packages around your appearance. Not everybody can claim such feathers in their caps, but the Monarch Butterflies can. In fact, those much-photographed, highly anticipated flutterers are practically royalty up and down the Central Coast (as their royal name would suggest). Tourism in certain areas depends in part on the famous insects' mid- to late-fall arrival, and tours and outings are built around finding them. So, is this the year you'll venture out and get that excellent, prize-worthy photograph of tiny legs alighting on a small stem? And those glorious Monarchian wings?
IT COULD BE: "Mid-October" is the usual time to start keeping tabs on the butterflies, and you can do so via the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce Facebook Page. Of course, Pacific Grove is one of the famous HQs for all things butterfly -- its nickname is Butterfly Town USA, after all -- and they do keep an eye out for their annual migratory guests. In fact, the first Monarch called upon the Chamber of Commerce office -- or just outside of the office, rather -- on Friday, Oct. 4, and you can bet they excitedly posted about it. As they should. Is there anything more wondrous than an anticipated and beautiful migration, whether it be whales or wee insects or other beasties on the move? Maybe, but migrations are definitely high up in the all-out wonder category.
AND ABOUT THAT PACKAGE... El Encanto in Santa Barbara has one for Monarch buffs. Are there Monarch-themed cocktails involved? You bet. Butterflies, after all, inspire us to poetry, and poetry can certainly include the culinary and beverage arts.