Like most of us, I’d seen images of butterflies from the tropics, Cuba, Mexico, Central America, India, Africa, Viet Nam, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Argentina, Peru . . . . Long did I sort of want to have worked those exotic trails. Funds, time, friends to accompany, those all stymied me, as well as the strong desire to never be kidnapped.
Our trip to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, what? 2-3 miles from the Mexican border delivered the miracle cure for those longings. This Erato Heliconian Butterfly was a exotic as any I’d ever get to met in any of the destinations above. Those lipstick-red wing bars and their 90 degree positioned whitish strips, all set against ebony black wing, mesmerized.
I could get no closer than seen here, but no difference, for that Memory is engraved in my brain. The last week in December, Christmas week, and Oh My Goodness the sight for my sore eyes.
When we select ‘3 or 4’ of our images to be printed and hung on our our Macon, Georgia walls, this one may well be among them. I remember that morning in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, as if it were yesterday.
I’d gotten there early, that Eatonton, Georgia morning, and I was near shocked to find this pair of Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies, coupled together on a smallish plant. Quick examination left no doubt, this was one of the most beautiful possible visions that one could possibly see.
My thinking, my own thinking at such times? That G-d’s creative crafting, as I crouch there, looking at it, far exceeds that of anything ever crafted by the world’s finest jewelry workshops! That’s what I thought then and there, that warm, sunny morning in Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat
We’re now in our North Macon, Georgia a full year, having moved in on March 31, 2020, during the heart of the Covid-19. Our home is pleasingly decorated, although there are severals wall that are ready for decorative pictures.
There are 3 or 4 of our wingedfbeauty.com images that I want to turn into 8 x 10 prints. This image of the Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly is one of them. That I was able to approach this skittish butterfly species was a Miracle. That this one remained in place, in that dappled early morning light another Miracle, and that it was 99.9% fresh yet an additional Miracle. The Nichol Road Trail at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, a 45-minute drive from Pittsburgh, my home for those 27 years.
Many have been wonderfully loyal these more than 10 years, and I wonder which of our pics you’ve enjoyed? Has there been one that so pleased you . . . that you recall it? I have several in mind, to have printed and archival framed, to enjoy for my duration. I am open to learning of any that You prefer.
Not sure I’ll get responses, but I do want to find out. I do.
What a thrill to meet a Texan Crescent Butterfly at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas! She so brought to mind the hundreds (thousands?) of Pearl Crescents seen these decades, the 2 or 3 Northern Crescents too and the 8 or 9 Phaon Crescents sporting their cream-colored forewing bands.
Delicious were those red markings and the rows of white spots on the hindwing. Respectful was she, unlike my trail partners back East, the Pearl Crescents, who accompany you along trails, but become so difficult when you attempt to approach for a photograph.
2020 produced limited opportunity to get into the field, to travel to find butterflies. 2021? and beyond, OH! how I want to find and meet new! Canada, Georgia, Florida, southeast Arizona, my missed northwestern Pennsylvania, Texas (Oh! Texas) . . . I’ve read and reread Wild America and The Travels of William Bartram and they have only increased my desire to get out there, very there, and score images you will want to see.
The flight to San Antonio Texas, boarded very early in the morning, because of that I slept in a hotel near Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. We flew the 1,300 miles or so, rented a car at the airport, and drove more than 4 hours to Alamo, Texas. Those 5 days in Mission, Texas were unforgettable. Every day I met new butterflies. I would turn and there’d be new butterflies.
Many of those new species were more than rare, call them very rare. I was almost dazed at the serendipity (is that the correct word here?) of it all. Christmas week in Texas, almost at the border, and so much to be Thankful for.
This Malachite butterfly was the most memorable of them all. Fresh, poised, elegant and ‘Rare,’ it remained in place much of the time. Injured? No. Weakened by poor health? No. It’s senses dulled by some problem? No.
On seeing the Malachite Butterfly, I appreciated it all, I internalized the incredibility of what I’d experienced and yes, I knew that G-d had again shared great beauty with . . . me.
National Butterfly Center, Mission, Texas.