THE SWEETEST LITTLE STARTLE: The prospect of being startled, around Halloween week, carries with it a bit of light dread but a sense of delight, too. The act of the startle isn't generally all that pleasant, of course, in any form, but seasonal, gentle-of-heart startles are more typical in the days leading up to Oct. 31. We're talking about that moment when a co-worker dons a funny mask and pops up above the cubicle wall or a pack of trick-or-treaters rounds a corner, causing us to jump (a jump that we likely manufacture solely for the kids' delight). Let us add a sweet little startle to this Halloween week cavalcade, one that brings a dose of nature and sunlight and winter migration and joy. We speak of the Monarch butterflies, those colder-weather visitors that begin to call upon the Golden State's central stretch around the end of October. It's currently just that time of year, which means you could be out, walking down a sidewalk, just a few days ahead of Halloween, and admiring yard decorations, and zing! A Monarch zooms by your head, giving you the smallest of heart jumps and a dash of unexpected happiness. You weren't expecting to see such a wee wonder, but, there it is, and you recall that the time of year is right on for such a special sighting. And if you're in Pismo Beach on Sunday, Nov. 1, you'll be right on again, as the Monarch Butterfly Grove opens for the season.
FLUTTER FLUTTER: Monarchs, with their sizable wings and saturated orange-to-black hues, are the stars of the kick-off event, of course, but "the work of local artists and photographers, local musicians, face painting and art work from Nipomo High School students" add loveliness to the lovely day. No worries if you can't make it down for the opening, though; the Monarch Butterfly Grove'll stay abuzz into February, when the butterflies once again bid us adieu as they head back out on the migration trail. Have you seen the clustering up in a copse of eucalyptus trees? It's a sight, for sure, startling in its beauty and butterfly-thick profusion. So some startles, such as startling beauty and the startle of seeing the first Monarch of fall, have their pluses. Though the whole co-worker popping up over the cubicle wall in a comical mask could probably be retired, we're thinking.
NEED YOUR MONARCH 411? Get your migration info, what they eat, how much they weigh, and more. It's Monarch time, butterfly people, up and down our Central Coast.