Gifts from a Friend
(Submitted by Roberta in California)

About two weeks after my dear friend Joann passed away, I was sitting in my garden and saw a beautiful Monarch butterfly. It fed on my two Milkweed plants and stayed long enough for me to take many pictures. It left and I went inside to tell my husband. We went back outside and there it was again! My husband was able to see it, and he took even more pictures. I felt a sense of joy and awe to see the Monarch in my garden.

I later read that Monarch butterflies are thought in the Mexican culture to be the souls of their ancestors that return around their observance of their celebration of "The Day of the Dead". It is in late October and early November in which the migration of the Monarchs reach an area of Mexico where the celebration originated.

I feel like it was my friend Joann coming to say "hello", and that all is well. The next day I sat in my garden and the butterflies put on a show for me. My husband told me that he thinks the Monarch told the other butterflies about my garden, because I was able to observe and capture photographs of several other types of butterflies -- Western Tiger Swallowtail, Grey Hair Streak, and Gulf Fritillary. In addition, on that day I was able to spy for the first time in my garden an Acorn Woodpecker in my large Oak tree, and later in the day a very tiny lizard (captured a photo of this as well). I do believe it was friend Joann who presented me with all of these gifts!

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