Teary Moments . . . .

Earring Series - Jeff with Black Swallowtail Earrings (Best shot), at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

This is the shot with the Eastern Black Swallowtails fully on my right ear.

She battled Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma from the moment she was diagnosed, nearly eight years and Stem Cell Transplant later. Leukemia’s ‘side-effect’ so weakened her, that the Hillman Cancer Center specialist told her, at her demand, that there would be no last-ditch sprint to the NIH in Washington, DC, for if she could not walk in the door, they would not treat her. She thanked him, demanded that we all go home for our Sabbath night meal, and passed away some 3 hours later.

Frieda A”H was in Hillman for a total of 150 nights, and her last 2 years were horrific. She was home one-half of the time those last years. She demanded that I continue my field excursions to find and photograph butterflies. She loved my work, and she loved beauty.

There have been less than a handful of times that I have come to tears in the field, after butterflies have startled me with inexplicable behavior? The first was with that Mourning Cloak. Now I must stop for a moment, for that Mourning Cloak rocked my boat.

This experience, chronicled in our new Feature, ‘Jeff’s Earrings,’ took me to a tear in each eye, with Sylbie there to capture it on film. My strong, strong resolve to not cry before women (Yes, guilty as charged) prevented me from a full cry.

When we posted ‘Jeff’s Earrings,’ I invited friends on NABA-CHAT to see it, and many hundreds accepted my invitation. Dozens of Georgians came too. Teary moments in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia. The best place to see scores of different butterflies, no better place from Toronto to the Florida Panhandle.

Some have shared experience with butterflies that reduced them to pudding, so to speak. What do you make of this? Why? What are the associations that we make that open the floodgates of emotion? I ask you this.


15 thoughts on “Teary Moments . . . .

  1. Hello Jeff – she sounds wonderful and brave. The earring was most definitely a message…she wanted you to not mistake it. What a beautiful moment. I too believe that messages can come to us in nature…

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    • Redterrain, thanks for your delicious Comment. She was all that. She loved jewelry, as does her mother, that going to post-liberation from Bergen Belsen concentration camp, where Frieda A”H was born. Message, how softly that resonates for me. I am glad you took the time to respond here. Yes, I am.

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  2. Heroic as she was, as stoic as you try to be – a heart breaker. Knowing the short story from what you shared with me has kept me from reading the whole thing. Eyes burning Have said it before, wish I could have known her The pain of your loss is so close to the surface as to make other issues fade away

    Sent from my iPhone


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    • Thank you judgeva. This post began as a discussion of the mystifying effect butterflies can have on us, and then it took on its own energy, and well, you read the result. I got there early, I found them coupled in the Briar Patch perennials, they totally disregarded my presence, Sylbie arrived (that chance in 5.8 million), they remained in place, Sylbie took the camera, and did a classic Sylbie Yon, i.e., took faultless images. How many variables were there that morning? Catrillions. And me? A mix of amazed, stunned, moved, very moved, and grateful, very grateful.

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  3. I believe the Mourning Cloak is also know as the Harbinger of Spring . . . a promise of renewal. A reminder of God’s perfect creations, and the cycle of life – it overwhelms the heart with it’s beauty.

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    • It does, it does. When you approach a fresh Mourning Cloak, I have been well, stunned by its beauty, the rich maroon, yellow yellow, and baby blue . . . Wow! TBT, more gorgeous than any babe on the Oscars that I USED TO WATCH!

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