Blue HolyLand Butterfly

Common Blue Butterfly at Mt. Hermon, Israel

There are several species of Blue butterflies that you might see on Mt. Hermon in the HolyLand (Israel). They are all tiny, and identifying them requires that you see both the upper (dorsal) wing and the lower (ventral) wing surfaces.

When I saw this one, there at the northeastern tip of Israel, this bluer than blue dorsal wing surface kind of shocked me. I was so fixated by this extra ordinary blue that I forget the make sure that I saw its ventral wing patterns.

Sitting here with our Israel Butterfly field guide, by Dubi Benjamin, I can’t be sure of its species. It’s blue as blue can be, and that’s just got to do. No?

Jeff

A Very Strange Insect from the HolyLand’s Mt. Hermon

Mantid photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mountain State Park, Georgia

I’d read of them before, but had only seen such once in the United States. A mantid that lacked wings, and moved about on the ground only. A mantid not capable of short flights.

Where did I see this? On the peak of Mt. Hermon. Too bad YOU were not with me. You too would have stared and stared at this insect, like me, wondering aloud, why hadn’t G-d finished H-s work on this critter? It just looks like there was more to be added, but just no time to do so.

This mountaintop at the northeastern corner of the HolyLand/Israel is mostly closed nowadays, kept closed by the IDF (Israel Army (Israel Defense Forces)). It’s those more than 50,000 Iranian soldiers, they masquerading as Syrian soldiers, down at the northern base of Hermon, that must be watched, carefully watched.

Today Yaron Mishan shared pics of his fieldwork there, on Facebook, on the top of the mountain. Mama Mia! how I wish I could have joined him and the several others, seeking among the rarest butterflies in the world.

Jeff

Free Flying Happiness On the Peak of the HolyLand

Jeff Zablow on Peak of Mt. Hermon Israel

This is an image of Sheer Happiness. Where? I’m on the peak of Mt. Hermon, at the northeastern corner of the HOLYLAND/Israel. Mentioned in the Old Testament more than once, I am standing on an ageless mountain crest,. Behind me you see more of Mt. Hermon’s top, not 100 feet but many miles of mountaintop. Beyond that? Lebanon. A country once proud and prosperous, now overtaken by devilish Hezbollah.

That smile? It was June 2008. Frieda A”H Z”L had passed in January, after an almost 8 year struggle. The last year of her life I was her Caregiver. I cooked and did all, for Frieda, who until the onslaught of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, cooked, baked, cleaned, sewed, knit . . . did it all, in the European-Polish traditional manner. Our 4 children all excelled. We sat at graduations at America’s fine universities.

Me the street kid from Brooklyn (forget the glasses and such, I fought, much) who survived knives, guns and such, who graduated from OCS a newly minted artillery officer, Dean in a New York City High School who took guns, knives, chukka sticks, pipes from HS guys, had to watch helplessly as Frieda slowly weakened. Helplessly.

Frieda always told me to do what makes me Happy! She knew that photographing butterflies? I loved doing that!! She urged me to go and shoot, even when I was caregiving that last year. She’d say go, ‘Don’t worry about me.’ I went, and always rushed home after.

So here I am on this ancient G-d Loved mountaintop. Eran Banker, my guide took this pic. I am where I dreamed of, the peak of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the peak that Moses must have seen but never visited. We found, and I photographed many, many very rare butterflies. It was maybe 94F or 96F up there, desert-like, no wind . . . SPECTACULAR.

I was finally Happy again, I knew real Love, and it was as if She told me to be right there. To Smile. To Appreciate having survived poverty, the Streets, carrying long steel, and the Love of a Good Woman and to Reflect on being the Father of 4 Healthy, Happy capable children.

I surely must have been remembering Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Success.

This pic, for me? Priceless. A Thank G-d Moment.

Jeff

Eran Looking At Tomorrow’s Battlefield

Eran Banker photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Hermon Peak, Israel

Eran agreed to guide me along the peak of Mt. Hermon. We were there, on that 7,000 foot high peak, at the northeastern corner of the HolyLand, this the mountain that looks down on the Golan Heights. We were there to find and shoot butterflies. Did we? More than I could have dreamed. Many of them were rare, only found on this mountaintop. Working this enormous Biblical mountain top, mostly alone, in that nearly boiling Middle Eastern heat . . . was exhilarating!

Was it dangerous that day? Not so much then, we knowing that Israeli, Syrian, Lebanese and U.N. lookouts had us in their binoculars and other advanced surveillance equipment.

Eran is seen here gazing down to Lebanon, where today, tens of thousands of Hezbollah fighters are massed, thinking that they, and their ballyhooed 50,000 or more missiles will massacre the children, women and men of Israel.

Keep your eyes peeled for news that the Hezbollah ‘Army’ has begun to move. Know that G-d will be there, and will deliver those ‘fighters’ up. You will retain this image in your mind of minds, I hope. Butterflies and barbarians, Yikes!

Jeff

Upon Meeting A Rare HolyLand Mt. Hermon Fritillary

Melitaca trivia butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Mt. Hermon, Israel

Butterflies have so enriched my life, so bolstered me when I needed reassurance that I was who I wanted to be. Frieda’s Passing A”H, betrayal in business, enduring many life threatening situations, serving as an artillery officer when ‘Nam got boiling hot, raising children of much accomplishment . . . so much happened, and these last decades found a way to continue to be me, the street kid from Brooklyn whom few have understood, truth be told. It’s difficult to bring folks to understand who you are, isn’t it?

Searching for butterflies is a joy for me, and, when I find very rare butterflies, on difficult to work mountain tops, that joy is sweet, so very sweet. That’s how it was when I met this fritillary butterfly. I was on the peak of Mt. Hermon, a biblical mountaintop at the very northern border of Israel.

I went there knowing that more than 12 butterflies were found only on Mt. Hermon. I knew that fritillaries were among those preciously rare butterfly species. When Eran and I found this fresh Melitaea Persia montium, I was so so so excited. I just knew that we’d found a butterfly that few had ever seen, it flying only on the peak of this 7,000 foot mountain.

The late morning heat was burning (at least 93 in full Middle Eastern sun, the Hermon peak with desert like humidity), other butterflies had been very difficult to approach, that land mine that Eran found, in an area I was heading toward and the realization, gnawing in my mind, that this could be my one and only trip here for a long time (lifetime?) . . . all caused me to SOOOO plead with G-d that this OMG! butterfly enable/allow me to score images of it.

Today? I checked again and Google continues to include this image, when you or any of the world’s 6.9 Billion folks Google M. Persia Montium. That lites my fire. Yes it does.

Jeff