The Culmination Butterfly

Zebra Heliconian butterfly on Tithonia II, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, GA

Valentine’s Day is waning. A disgruntled student did the unthinkable in Florida and politics wash over our USA media by the hour. I’ve just opened the wingedbeauty.com Media Library. More than 800 images rest there. Many have been used, some of them several times. This one, seen last July 2017, called to me, like the puppy in the litter than catches your eye, and waddles over to capture your heart.

It hit me. This is a classic Culmination butterfly, surrounded by culmination growth, Mexican sunflower plants in the Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat I. I took this photo just months before Virginia and crew began unearthing most of the hundred of perennials, bushes and trees there and replanted them a mile+ away, in Habitat II. We are looking at a Zebra heliconian butterfly, enjoying a brunch of Tithonia nectar.

Why is this a Culmination butterfly? This is the product of the boy from the streets of Brooklyn, not so big, but good with his hands, who grew up in brick, concrete and asphalt, with crazies on the streets. The kid who never even saw the golden spoon. The one who went to college by New York subway and had to work after classes to eat. I carried long steel on those hundreds of subway rides through bad places. I hitched with Reed from Binghamton, NY to Miami, Florida in 1962, and nearly got killed about 20 times in the 1962 Deep South. Joined the NYARNG, was a cannoneer on 155mm towed, completed OCS, married beyond my dreams and had 4 children. I left teaching after they refused to promote me and did better than good in NYNY real estate. I was betrayed by “partners,” but did not do to them what my now well connected childhood friends did to those who . . .  I sent kids to Wash U and to the Ivies and then relocated to Pittsburgh. I returned to teaching HS Biology, to rough, tough street kids. I watched Frieda A”H fight and lose to Cancer/Leukemia. Celebrated the birth of grandchildren, even one named for Frieda. Did what Frieda always told me to: work hard and do what you enjoy. I Continue to pray daily . . .

Yep, what you see here is the Culmination butterfly. Take the tale above, multiply it by some healthy multiple, and I am sure then, then you can begin to appreciate how much I enjoy photographing butterflies in Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Canada, Israel, Vancouver Island (?), Sri Lanka (?) and ???? Thank Y-u.

Jeff

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