On wings of discovery
Arduous treks led to an amazing find, writes Chanel Parratt
MORE than 38 years ago, Catalina Aguado and her husband Kenneth Brugger answered an ad in a Mexican newspaper placed by Dr Fred Urquhart. The ad read: Wanted, volunteers to tag butterflies and if possible discover their destination.
After two years spent looking for where the monarch butterfly flies in winter, Aguado and her husband made the discovery and life hasn’t been the same since. Aguado says what she can’t express in words, the film – Flight of the Butterflies – catches in images.
What was it like to finally discover the butterflies?
It was like walking into a cathedral with a shimmering orange carpet that extended to the sky. The tree trunks were covered in crinkled gold and orange silk.
How did you feel?
At first I felt like I had walked into a sacred place and disturbed their privacy. I was afraid to talk or breathe in fear of scaring them away. I also felt very sad because I had to give away their secret place and yet I kept wishing that the whole world could see them through my eyes.
Have you had another travel experience that compares?
What’s the best thing you’ve eaten while travelling?
Freshly picked morel mushrooms cooked on an open fire.
Where is your favourite place to travel for a holiday?
My favourite place is a forest with mountains and streams where I can hear only the sounds of
How did it feel watching the movie?
It was strange to see and hear the interaction of my husband and I played out by the actors. It was nice to imagine myself being 25 years old, in the mountains again with the butterflies and Fred and Norah Urquhart – kind of reliving my youth.
What do you do to relax when you’re at home (in Texas)?
I work in my vegetable garden, have long discussions with my son, play with my dogs and watch the 30 or so deer that come to my front yard.
Where is your next holiday?
My next holiday is in my vegetable garden.
What do you grow?
In the spring I grow several varieties of heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, squash, melons, corn, green beans, sweet peppers, hot peppers, onions, garlic, tomatillos, carrots, herbs, peaches, plums, figs and berries. In fall, greens like spinach and kale and cruciferous vegetables. I grow milkweed for the monarchs, some flowers for the butterflies and hummingbirds and lettuce for the deer.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me to look far, wide, to the ground and to the sky, and always take new paths.
Is there anything you can’t travel without?
My glasses because I need them to see where I amgoing.
Flight of the Butterflies 3D opens today at Imax Melbourne Museum.
JOURNEY OF WONDER: Catalina Aguado (right) with Stephanie Sigman, who plays her in the film Flight of the Butterflies; and one of the monarch butterflies that Aguado and her husband tracked to their Mexican sanctuary (left).