By Dave Montalbano
When we set my dad’s memorial for Dec. 1, we dreaded the grey Alabama winter. Instead, we enjoyed an Indian summer that lasted during our stay. As my mom, my brother and I said our final farewell to Dad, a bright yellow butterfly descended upon the flowers next to the gravesite, a spring miracle that does not occur in winter. Since that moment, butterflies have caught my attention in so many ways.
Eben Alexander’s recent best-seller “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” features a butterfly on the book cover. This work of non-fiction places an importance upon butterflies in the afterlife.
Flight of the Butterflies is a documentary currently playing at the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery IMAX Theater in 3-D. Under one hour long, this film presents two stories, one about biology, another about biography.
The biographical portion introduces Fred Urquhart, a scientist who devoted 40 years to the study of the Monarch Butterfly. With his future wife Norah as his assistant, Urquhart tracked the trails of butterflies. The two founded Monarch Watch, which recruited hundreds of “citizen scientists,” who tagged thousands of butterflies and reported their findings to Fred and Norah.
The biological section traces the lifespan and multigenerational migration of the Monarch Butterfly. While it takes three generations to migrate to Canada, it is the Super Generation of Monarch that flies from Canada to the mountains of the Mexican state of Michoacán.
While these creatures weigh less than a penny, on the 5-storey IMAX screen, one is treated to a well-produced Mothra movie from Godzilla productions. Scientific facts are of utmost importance, but Flight of the Butterflies is also an entertaining film and a beautiful piece of visual poetry that would inspire artists like Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.
In Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Rd., Coconut Creek, one can visit Butterfly World, a unique Botanical Garden that is now 25 years old. It would make for a wonderful Sunday afternoon visit, but it is closed this Easter Sunday. But Flight of the Butterflies will provide a great family experience as a substitute. Happy Easter!