Large Wall Brown (Old City, Jerusalem)

Turkish meadow brown butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Jerusalem, Israel

Our accommodations in the Old City of Jerusalem were unbelievable. At our windows you looked across the vast courtyard, and you were looking straight at The Kotel (Western Wall). We were not nearby, within easy walking distance. We were There! This month of December is so connected to the ancient, meaningful city.

I got off to my usual very early start each day. Everyone else was fast asleep. Rachel’s wedding was more than a week off. Had my camera and lenses with me, of course. Had my Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro- lens there too. When I packed, I packed that one too. Maybe our 17-day stay in Israel would find me some time to search for butterflies?

So early those Jerusalem mornings I slipped out silently, and ? Hmm. The Old City of Jerusalem and butterflies. Were there any in this built-to-the-last-centimeter city? I descended several flights of stone stairs near where we slept, and there was a small city park. It looked like it didn’t enjoy much attention. Didn’t the millions who came each year to visit the Old City, Christians, Jews, Muslims- didn’t they come to savor the timeless flavor and spiritual aroma of this theological destination?

This park had some shrubs here and there, some in bloom. Butterflies. There were butterflies there. At first I saw only blues, tiny Common blues. But, I searched and searched. I saw lots of what appeared to be ancient stone. In the Old City the horrific invasions of Greeks and Romans and other armies led to colossal demolition of the stone Temples and structures. There are massive stone about whose original site remains unknown.

Here in this park the butterflies were intolerant of approach. I accepted that images of them had to be at some distance. So here, after many failed attempts, we have Lasiommata maera o. resting on such a hewn stone. He flies in the middle of the city, at this moment in a park that does have some shrubs and does have a number of pomegranate trees. He flies close to the ground, disappears upon approach, then returns 3 or 4 minutes later. What is he waiting for? Does he acknowledge that he is flying amidst ground that the world’s greatest figures have walked?

Large wall brown on hallowed ground. June 26th. Rachel’s wedding was on July 6th. It was beautiful. I cried.

Jeff

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