Migration is the movement by humans or animals from one area to another. Our ancestors migrated because of the seasons, food sources, competing groups of people and the search for a better place to live.
Only recently, in human time, have people migrated simply for pleasure and as a way to escape old identities. The idea of leaving one’s nest and hitting the open road is now part of the rite of passage many people experience as they make the move from children to adults. With migration comes the shedding of old patterns and embracing of new. There is nothing like a move to force a purging of material goods and a re-evaluation of what is important.
Why all this talk about migration? Well, Durango Nature Studies’ staff is in the throes of a rather extensive, if short-distance, migration. After 17 years in our original office space at the Smiley Building on the third floor, we are moving to a new space on the second floor.
Yes, we are still in our beloved Smiley Building, but it is amazing what an organization can accumulate over 17 years. We have realized that our mismatched office furniture doesn’t look as good exposed to new light, and that one organization really doesn’t need more than 20 swivel desk-chairs. We have also discovered Project Wild books dating back to the ’80s and a few taxidermied bird canisters that, upon opening, filled the whole office with the beautiful smell of formaldehyde.
Movement can be exhilarating and exhausting. We have alternated between frustration about how we will ever get all our gear into our new space, to exhilaration upon shedding things that surely only guilt made us keep. However, we are all in agreement that walking up one flight of stairs with more than 80 pairs of snowshoes each season is definitely preferable to the 2½ we had gotten used to. Granted, we will all have to look for more traditional ways and times to get our exercise.
Our migration makes us appreciate the smaller beings that migrate every year, rather than every 17. We taught a program to Needham Elementary School fourth-graders this year about monarch migration. It is truly amazing the way movement is built into their genetic makeup. Each monarch in Mexico starts a grueling four-generation trip, with the third generation arriving as far north as Canada. It is the intrepid fourth generation that somehow knows to make a solo flight back to Mexico to lay its eggs. Its great-great-great grandparents aren’t around to tell it where to go, it just knows. Maybe this generation of butterfly is the one that has a thirst for home after the three before it are seeking change?
I know this is anthropomorphizing this butterfly in search of its past, but amid change, it’s nice to know that some things are hard-wired. After the chaos of change and movement, order is eventually restored. Check with us in about two weeks and see if we are starting to feel a sense of place in our new home.