Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year, Baby

Silver, an Icelandic colt born last summer, gets my vote for cutest New Year Baby and most uplifting symbol for 2009. Horses represent stamina, mobility, strength and power, coping under difficult circumstances, love, devotion, loyalty, energy and freedom – everything we need to manage the rush of change, intensity and turbulence that has become the new normal since he came into the world (he was born with a distinctively silver coat, which has obviously changed).
Like all Icelandic horses, Silver and his mom, Twinkles, are extremely intelligent and slow to mature. They aren’t full-grown until seven or eight years old and seldom ridden before four or five years old. 

January 2nd also marks the 34th anniversary of an important discovery in the natural world. Thanks to Writer's Almanac for this mention: 

On this day in 1975, an amateur naturalist, Kenneth Brugger, discovered where monarch butterflies from North America spend the winter. Scientists had been studying monarch migration for more than 30 years, and they had found out almost everything about the butterflies, except where they spent their winters.

Kenneth Brugger was an American textile engineer living in Mexico City. He remembered driving through a storm of monarchs once on a vacation, in the mountains west of Mexico City. He went back there, but he couldn't find anything, and the local farmers wouldn't give him any information. Then he brought his Mexican wife Catalina, and the locals warmed up. A farmer led them up the side of a remote mountain, up to 10,000 feet, and suddenly the fir trees were so thick with butterflies that they looked orange instead of green. Scientists estimated that there were 4 million butterflies per acre.

Brugger was elated, but he couldn’t fully appreciate what he was seeing – he was colorblind.

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