I retired in February 2007. I Loved teaching high school Biology. My Vo-tech students weren’t college bound, but together we enjoyed teaching/learning Biology. The administration of that school often made my teaching life hellish, something about me being from “New York” and more. They continued that although they knew that my dear wide Frieda A”H was in the later stages of her battle with Cancer. When the Oncologists told us that Frieda would need a caregiver going forward (?), she suggested that I retire and put on my caregiver hat. I retired, ‘though it did not end well.
After, after the shiva (sitting and receiving friends and family) I took stock = what did I want to do with my life, to contribute something substantive? I wanted to continue photographing butterflies on a modest budget, on my own time. Should I bust-out to Bolivia, Costa Rica, Senegal, Mongolia, the Rockies? No, that was not my thinking. No getting kidnapped, no gut wrenching gastrointestinal diseases, no Bolivia bus going over the edge, with me in it. The USA was my focus, and east of the Mississippi at that. Israel too, once a year, to see Rachel and Hillel and Boaz, and to head-out to the Galilee/Golan and to come home and tease my Christian friends, that I stopped in at Capernum and drove past.
Florida, especially northern Florida was a 25 year destination dream for me. When NABA published their first Destinations article, with the wonders of Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, that was that, I was going there. There.
Here I am in the Spring Unit of Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, near Perry Florida. The Hampton Inn was OK. Big Bend was 20 minutes away.
Oh, the wonders of that place! I worked the trails, alone (again naturally) and there was so much to see, so many new butterflies and wildflowers. Liatris was just beginning to open that late August 2016.
Native, wild Hibiscus (correct ?) were eye candy. That this little Skipper obliged and flew in to nectar bespeaks of the richness of the Florida Panhandle.