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Mariposas y Michoacán
Have you ever heard butterflies? The first time I stood quietly in a mountain forest in the midst of millions of monarch butterflies, their velvet wings beating like the flutter of little orange angels, was for me a spiritual moment.
I traveled to the mountains of central Mexico (Michoacán state) to photograph the winter sanctuaries of the monarch butterfly. Intrigued by the people and the culture surrounding these mountain sanctuaries, I have expanded this project to include the entire state of Michoacán. It is a work in progress and a labor of love.
The monarchs arrive in Michoacán at the end of their incredible 2,000 mile migration from the US and Canada on November 1st : the day the Mexicans celebrate El Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead). This and the many other religious festivals, such as Semana Santa (Holy Week), are intrinsic to the color and spirit that is Mexico. Mexico for me is like the biggest box of crayons and I’m a kid again. The warmth and quiet dignity of the Mexican people make me happy that we are neighbors and extended family.
Since I began this project, the monarch sanctuaries have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, yet these oyamel fir forests are being decimated by illegal logging.
Migrant workers from Michoacán are returning home from the United States, where there is no work and the border fence gets higher and longer. It may be time for me to change direction and refocus, but I know that the soft sounds of the monarchs will never leave my soul.
Music: Danza Espanola, Op. 37, H. 142 – XII. Arabesca