It’s Memorial Day today in the U.S.A.. We remember those who lost their lives serving America. I read Jim Gilbreath’s post on Facebook, and it got to me. He shared with us memories of two wonderful young men, lost in battle. It got me to thinking of the so many young men and women I taught and got to know in New York City and in Pittsburgh. Have any fallen in battle, in service of their country? My artillery unit (155mm towed) was not sent to Nam . . .
It got me to thinking about how amazing! the United States is, and now I am pleased that you gaze at this little butterfly, the Silver-Spotted Skipper butterfly. It is an all American butterfly, and it flies somewhere in your state, all year in Florida, and from April to October, depending where you are. It is an energetic, spirited butterfly, not flashy, no show-off, kind of much like our men and women in service.
Where did we meet? It was totally absorbed in sipping the nectar being pumped by this Liatris plant, at Cloudland Canyon State Park in the northwestern Georgia mountains. The Liatris in our new 800 garden will be opening in some 2-3 weeks from now, or so.
If Uncle Sam had sent my Howitzer battalion to Viet Nam in 1968 . . . how many times have I thought of that? Me a 1st Lieutenant, the kid from Brooklyn, our cannon sending rounds up to 35 miles . . . Not much time for admiring butterflies from another world . . .
NB, And Cathy’s Billy, lost serving our country . . .
Enjoying this image, shot at Cloudland Canyon State Park in northwestern Georgia brought a song to mind, actually an airline TV commercial of some years ago, “Come fly with me, come fly away, . . . ”
Our Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly was lapping up nectar from a meadow loaded with Liatris blooms, millions of them. He was so fixated on that tasty nutrition, that he allowed my close Macro-lens approach.
This among many I will be approaching, anticipating that I am not alone in anxiously awaiting the 2020 arrival of such winged beauties.
He patiently went from Liatris bloom to Liatris bloom, giving us enough time to carefully shoot his youthful handsomeness against the contrast of lush, robust Liatris flowers.
Cloudland Canyon State Park in northern Georgia. I had asked a very knowledgeable friend for a great destination, and might, just might introduce us to our first Diana Fritillary butterflies. Nope, we did not find Dianas, but Cloudland Canyon was a fine butterfly site, and the canyon itself? Spectacular and Way Bigger than I could have imagined., Pigeon Mountain’s 2 mountain meadows? They too were wonderful, and their giant Giant Swallowtail butterflies? Terrific!
We’re now approaching mid-September here in middle Georgia, and even decades into seeking butterflies, it’s difficult to reckon that fewer and fewer will be seen, and we slide into October and November. Me complain? Nope, because in my previous home, butterflies were NOT seen once there first week in September ended. Here, in Georgia’s Piedmont, we marvel at butterflies well in middle November.
Even despite how we silently wish butterflies and their legions well, I stop and daydream of the coming February, when we in Georgia will once again do a silent, Whopee! when we once again spot the emerging butterflies of 2020!
This shmeksy! male Eastern Tiger will always gladden our eyes.
I often puzzle over why I remember somethings going back to those lazy, crazy days on the Brooklyn streets. Why do I remember a certain game of punchball, played with maybe 20 kids playing and watching, including Julie Locke, who still stops by here time and again. There were what? hundreds of games of punchball (played by hitting a Pennsy Pinky ball with your fist and running the bases as in baseball), yet I remember one of them?
I remember this guy well. We were at Cloudland Canyon State Park in northwestern Georgia. We found the power line cut that Phil suggested we visit, and yes the Liatris was in full bloom. This male flew in and he stayed there methodically working one Liatris flower spike after another.
He was large, and he was fresh and he was very handsome.
We both shot him out, he fully accommodating our close approach, hardly fleeing. A fine day, and a Shmeksy! Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, reminding us that G-d’s finery is with us.
He seemed to have a plan, as he worked the Liatris in that meadow. Me? I was in very high mood, because a meadow of Liatris in bloom is a very good find, a near guarantee that you’ll see lots of butterflies.
Shooting film (Fuji Velvia ASA 50 here in full sun) at Cloudland Canyon State Park in the northwest corner of Georgia, I knew that a good capture here would be usable, very. His black and yellow pattern, wings free of bird/predator strikes and his fine head, those crisp, round and shiny eyes would go well with his defined antennae and active proboscis.
Score those blue dots on his hindwings and a tease of orange in those flashes on the trailing margins of his hindwings, that would help too.
Catch all that and the rich color of the Liatris, as well as the comely background tones that film usually does, and all would earn a serious checkmark, image achieved.
His leftwings, well, I’m not concerned. I already like this image.
Sitting here in central Georgia, with rain falling and the thermometer at 45F, I have to overcome this recurring thought ; No Eastern Tiger Swallowtails ’til wha? April 2019? Hmmmm. No Georgia satyr. No Eastern pygmy blue. No Goatweed Leafwing or Monarch butterfly. Buck up, Jeff.