Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel
So many terrific reads. I’m now reading Scott Weidensaul’s Return to Wild America (North Point Press, 2005), and before that Robert Michael Pyle’s Mariposa Road, for the 4th time (yes, the fourth time). Enjoyed Birdwatcher, a mesmerizing biography of Roger Tory Peterson, and Kenn Kaufman’s Kingbird Highway. Somewhere in these last months I read Wild America by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher. Loved them all.
So I sit and look again at this image. On my belly, leaning on a gentle slope, determined to capture good images of Israel’s Plain Tiger Butterfly. It’s Israel, so I forgot to remember that setting down on the ground meant that I am ‘resting’ on thorny plants. Uhhh. I am doing what Peterson, Pyle, Fisher, Kaufman, Weidensaul, Linch, Crosby and Nabokov have done. Color me Happy.
Why? Why do I keep going to these places, spending hours alone, without another person, almost ever, sweating, batting away insects who see ME as their end-goal-prey? Why haven’t I switched to digital? Duh? Doesn’t my arrival at airport security, especially here in the Middle East, drive those security personnel Nuts? “Hand check!” They just hate that, though they always lose that after we chat about how beautiful their nation’s butterflies are. Ticks, chiggers, the always remembered possibility of venomous snakes, and the even realer occasional appearance of feral dogs with attitude and ? what else.
Because the image we see here was very difficult to get, and I spent 11 days working this edge of agricultural ditch in the arid HolyLand, to get it and the other 50+ ‘keepers’ that we’ve been sharing these last weeks. Because I Thank G-d that I am able to pursue this passion of mine, that I have always admired beauty, in its many forms. Because back in Manhattan, we went to quite a few Exhibitions of Magnificent Jewelry, open to the public before Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction galleries held their auctions of the world’s finest bejeweled work. Because after seeing the finest of all jewels, up close, really close, macro- work reveals that these butterflies are more beautiful than the work of the finest craftsmen and women, ever. Just as breathtaking as my visits to the National Gallery of Art (D.C.) or the Brooklyn Museum or Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art, or the Uffizi in Florence.
Color my Happy because I am there, and I know how lucky I am, and I am Happy to see them flying, with all the healthy fauna and flora around them, and because G-d enables me to see and appreciate it all.
So I continue to share with you.