I hope the Question is, ‘Where has Jeff been lately, what with no new posts on wingedbeauty.com.?’ After all, butterflies are now . . . flying.
Regretfully, the answer is Jeff is getting over the passing of his father on May 16, 2015 in the VA Military Hospice in Dublin, Georgia. The question asked so often, ‘How old was he?’ 100 years old. The Hospice, his second since the massive stroke in January, kept anticipating his imminent passing, though he fought that too, and left us months later.
Butterflies. I watched them as Jack Zablow was buried in the Georgia Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Glenville, Georgia, with full military honors. I watched those winged beauties as they flew here and there in the cemetery. They have this wonderful effect on me, and helped as I stood with my brother, Stanley, bereaved on a gorgeous Georgia day. Butterflies just make me feel good, truth be told.
This male Tiger Swallowtail allowed my very close approach on that 2014 morning in Raccoon Creek State Park, up north here in Pennsylvania. Fresh, strong, and very shmeksy.
Butterflies tantalize my eyes, make me smile, challenge me, and . . . remind me of those who have meant so much to me. See one of my Mourning cloak posts, for my magical moments in 2008.
It’s nice to see this again. July 31st, 2014, amidst a sea of Bergamot blooms. Color me happy-lucky. Butterflies here and there. Sphinx moths zooming in and out. Bumble bees, whose well being is much fretted over nowadays, abundant. Wasps patroling, and ruby throated hummingbirds there, and over there, and there. When the bejeweled butterfly suddenly appeared, that’s when you faintly heard my Thank You! This image, Fuji slide film, macro-, hand-held was one of several dozen that I popped off. I just reviewed the slide on my Porta-Trace lightbox. I nailed the right wing undersides, the right side of the abdomen (with those nifty spots), the right compound eye and a short bit of the proboscis. It looks like the scan gave up a bit of that. Ugh! What a rush, when a Pipeline swallowtail butterfly magically appears before a photographer of butterflies in Doak field, Raccoon Creek State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania. Just can’t get jaded in this ‘line of work.’ Jeff
I’ll never forget taking an elevator down in the arts deco Fuller building at Madison and E. 57th Street. It stopped. In walked Diana Ross. She was . . . more beautiful than I’ve ever seen her. Taller than I expected, too. We chatted, alone. I knew I’d never forget how beautiful and graceful she was. Never have. Remember too, when on a NYNY street, there was Mike Tyson striding down the sidewalk, with a comely blonde on each arm. Mike!
With thousands of Bergamot blooms fresh and pumping nectar, I knew that butterflies would come, to join the bees, flies, moths and hummingbirds who already were at work, imbibing sugary nectar.
Sure enough, in swooped a large, black butterfly, straight to the Bergamot. Here’s our Pipeline Swallowtail, beaming out its oranges, iridescent blues, and white, all on a starkly black background.
Diana, Mike, and Pipevine, all in the same league: The big leagues.
You should have seen it. Thousands of Bergamot blooms carpeting Doak field, Raccoon Creek State Park, Southwestern Pennsylvania. I’d been there several mornings that week. Bergamot in bloom means summer butterflies. Lots of them. Bergamot and Bee Balm are true nectar pumps (my own term) and their aroma must really travel, because they are a serious butterfly destination.
And that’s the way it was that July 31st day, 2014. Tiger swallowtails, Great Spangled Fritillaries, Spicebush Swallowtails, Hawkmoths, a Monarch, some Skippers, legions of Bumblebees and other fliers mobbed the Bergamot. I moved from the center of the 100+ acre field to a spot I knew along its margin. I chose a robust looking Bergamot plant and remained there for many minutes.
A large blackish Swallowtail Butterfly flew in. Wait, this was different. Can it be? Turn, turn pretty lady, let me be sure. She was nectaring and moving her wings violently, as she hovered over each bloom. The field guide in my brain was working at super-high speed until . . . Yes! Pipevine Swallowtail. OMG! it is! It is! She was fresh, Very shmeksy . . . . That iridescent blue field extending forward from those coral orange spots, all flashy bright. I shot slides on my traditional film camera: Pop, pop, pop . . .
I know my scream of Joy! could be heard in Pittsburgh. Maybe even in Cleveland. Did y’all her it at Madison and East 57th Street in Manhattan?