I was up there, March 2015, near the base of Mt. Hermon, in the hilly reserve of SPNI Hermon. The trails was busting bountiful with wildflowers, and the butterflies that I came to see and photograph. I’d brought 53 rolls of Fuji slide film (ASA 50/100) through Security in Pittsburgh and JFK New York and again through Ben Gurion airport. Each time Security and I spent more time together than most, with my “Hand Check!”requests, usually met with frowns and shrugs. My film did not get x-rayed once, despite some pleas that the irradiation does effect film. That a chance I do no wish to take.
So it was supposed, supposed to be butterflies only, but . . . the wildflowers could not be denied. New to me, fresh and beautiful.
These Hairy Pink Flax (Linum Pubescens) were just so pretty, perky and inviting. Why they are not pink, Quien sabe? Three field guides seem to ID them as such.
I love butterflies, wildflowers, cantaloupe, black russians, babaganoush, Breyers mint chip, . . . .
Spokane, Washington? Eatonton, Georgia? Perry, Florida? Jamestown, New York? Toronto, Quebec? Phoenix, Arizona, St. Louis, Mo.? Lumberton, Mississippi? Central Park, New York?
No to all. This Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa Cardui) was nectaring in Northernmost Israel, at the foot of Mt. Hermon. I spent several days in the SPNI field house, my fourth furlough there. Their large nature reserve was rich in wildlife and botany, and it was March 2015, with millions of blooms of countless species.
Considered the most universal (widespread) of all butterflies species, it was, honestly, a shock to be 7,000 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the U.S., and see what? A Painted Lady? Nevertheless, this is H-s plan.
Oh, and how far was this one from ISIS, Hezbollah, regular Syrian troops, Syrian rebel forces and Al Queda? Less than 10 miles, about as far as some drive to the supermarket. Our world!
So, I’m thousands of miles from home, out on the trails of SPNI Hermon, on a sunny March 2015 morning. To give perspective, this site shown in the image is less than 5 miles away from where Russian fighter jets are now flying combat missions in Syria. G-d willing, this ground remains as peaceful and remote as it was that March day. Israel remains strong, and this mad world of ours respects strong.
So I’m traversing the trails of this large SPNI reserve [Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (sort of like the US Audubon Society)] and with my hunt for new butterflies, I’m being stopped repeatedly, because, Wow! what plant is this? OMG! I’ve never seen a flower like that!! 7,000 miles away, in the heart of the Middle East, encountering blooms that they admired thousands of years ago.
My Hebrew? 4% efficient. My field guides are in Hebrew, and the text remains a mystery. Despite a serious difference in color, it would appear (don’t you love that phrase) that this blossom is Barbary Nut (Gynandriris Sisyrinchium).
Sometime soon I will exhaust my images of that recent trip to Israel. Still, these catches thrilled me, and I must, with substantial enthusiasm, share them with you. The Holy Land is gorgeous.
Eye Therapy on those trails at SPNI’s Hermon Reserve. I flew from the very brutal winter in the U.S. northeast, to an Israel blossoming after especially wet winter. Wildflowers were popping up everywhere. I do mean everywhere. March 2015, and I was there to search for rare butterflies. I had been there 3 times before, but never during this Renewal of a March month. It was a feast of color.
Oh, if I could have been there with Rembrandt, Peale, Peterson, Matisse, O’Keefe, Chagall and Audubon . . . All would have stopped at these ‘Protected’ Palestine Pheasant’s Ear (Adonis Palaestina) blooms. How I would have loved to hear their shares, as they internalized the rich color, fragile handsomeness and gestalt of this find. Honest.