I’m back — and have been so busy unpacking and tidying, that I haven’t even read the headlines. I did, however, want to tell you that, if you find yourself near Goleta, California (north of Santa Barbara) in winter, you absolutely must visit the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. Tens of thousands of monarch butterflies spend the winter there, and it is one of nature’s more amazing sights. We didn’t get to see too many butterflies this time, both because it’s a bit late in the season and because so many died several years ago during a bad storm, but it’s still impressive. At any given moment, hundreds flutter about in the air, and those clusters of orange leaves you see on the eucalyptus trees aren’t leaves at all, but thousands of butterflies. It’s both peaceful and exhilarating.