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LAURENCE PRINGLE'S BLOG

Writing can be hard work!

Though my spirits have been lifted these past weeks by seeing more monarchs on the move, heading for Mexico, my life has been dominated by a writing struggle. Yes, I say "struggle" because the book writing process is sometimes like that for me. It is somewhat like a roller coaster of feelings, and believe me, the low points are not fun. However, at some point--not yet reached--a writing project will give me lots of highs, and great feelings of accomplishment. And, by the way, I sometimes remind myself that many people have jobs that are so much more difficult, boring, and soul-destroying than mine.

A fall with far-above average temperatures has yielded some sweet surprises in nature: Green frogs still active in the garden pond. Katydids calling at night, even in early November. Ten or twenty years ago we would have had a killing frost well before Halloween. Our everyday lives show evidence of global warming, brought on by human activity. Some minor changes are welcome. The major ones are scary.
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MONARCHS!

The year 1997 stands out because my book AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE: THE STORY OF A MONARCH BUTTERFLY was published. In 1998 it won the Orbis Pictus Award for outstanding nonfiction for children. And, remarkably, it is still in print, as a paperback from Scholastic.

My dedication in that book: "To monarchs--only butterflies, yet strong enough to lift the human heart." They continue to have that affect. Whether I am driving along a highway or fishing on the ocean's edge, the sight of a fall-migrating monarch stirs strong feelings--and cheers, as I wish the butterfly a safe journey to Mexico. But, thanks to humans, monarchs face many threats. Their numbers at overwintering sites have dropped lower and lower. The great migration has faltered. These past few years I saw no monarchs at all near home. visiting author

Ah, but 2017 offers hope. A few monarchs have appeared, visiting butterfly weeds and butterfly bushes. A milkweed plant volunteered in a flower garden, and has now been fed upon by 4 monarch caterpillars. Another fed on butterfly weed. Though I found just one chrysalis, I believe all 5 made it through to adulthood. In the weeks ahead I will be near ocean beaches along which monarchs traditionally travel as they head west and south from New England and New York. Hopes rise. I may have many chances to cheer and cheer and cheer migrating monarchs!  Read More 
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