bearing witness

It is a gray day here with promise of sun in the afternoon. Gray days allow for long walks on the beach without the worry of sunstroke. 

Walking the beach at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore brings you face to face with industry. These smokestacks merging with gray clouds is a striking image in a natural preserve.

The folks at the National Lakeshore consider themselves stewards of the disparate ecosystems in their care. Biodiversity, restoration, replenishment and reexamining is the focus. Botanists, biologists, geologists and myriad other folk focus their attention on what has been saved, not what has been taken. These mills, smokestacks and furnaces bear witness to the history of the area when industry was king and economic stimulus was primary. 

Meanwhile over on a more secluded part of the beach I found at least a dozen monarch butterflies. At first I thought they were just landing. Then I realized they were dead. I couldn't help but wonder what they were doing there. Was this a last ditch effort to cross the water? Do they come here to party? Is it a migration zone? I need to do more research. Their colorful bodies being cradled by the rocks were stunning. 

And then I came upon this rock. A clear and present witness to the flight of the butterflies. Did he see it all happen? Does he have any thoughts about it? What exactly happened to that nose of his?

This piece began with one of his brethren. Rocks with holes in them always look like sentient beings to me. As you can see there are many others who bear witness to the surf, sand, butterflies and random humanoids with collection baskets.