Zebras Beached

Zebra swallowtail butterflies photographed at Mason's Neck State Park, VA

How many? I may well have shot between 50,000 and 75,000 slides of butterflies over these past few decades. Encouragement came from home, and that was enough fuel for years of fieldwork, taking me from Pittsburgh as far west as Arizona, and to the east to Ein Gedi, Israel, the HolyLand.

Butterflies seen? Countless. Memories? Wow! many. Cows menacing me, the city kid, who grew up “On the Streets,” and never knew a cow could glare. Then there was that Eastern timber rattlesnake that was such a cooperative subject in Rector, PA that this Brooklyner suddenly realized, Mwaw! was within easy striking distance of the 6-footer! There was the Yucca Giant Skipper that I did not see two days ago and then this beach scene on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, in Mason’s Neck State Park.

Butterflies flee your approach. These Zebra Swallowtail butterflies were so intent on their purposeful coupling that they disregarded my close approach with a macro lens, for more than a half hour shoot. I posted some time ago that this challenged my much earlier education in life, on the beach at Arverne, New York, and all those summers at Grandma’s summer bungalow. The unspoken common dignity then was to steer a wide berth around lovers entwined on the beach or under the boardwalk.

Funny then here, where I entertained this repeated unease at being intrusive; that I was not accommodating lovers on the ocean sand. They’re butterflies, but that’s what bothered me, Honest.

And yes, Virginia, there were Paw Paws growing there.

Jeff