If there is such a thing as visual clamor, that’s what monarch butterflies have been creating in my backyard for the past few weeks. They demand to be looked at. They’re so big, so graceful, so luminous, and so plentiful, that whenever I’ve gone outside with a book I’ve ended up watching the monarchs. On sunny afternoons there are dozens of them hovering and alighting on the purple buddleias (one bush is some fancy variety I planted, and two are just big weeds; but the butterflies don’t seem to care whether they’re drinking champagne or beer from the can). Their abundance this year made me suddenly curious to learn more. When I look at a monarch in my garden, what exactly am I seeing?
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