Just months ago I stood there, very taken with this fine example of an Eastern Strawberry Tree, the host plant for the Two-tailed Pasha butterfly. That trail was near the peak of Mt. Meron, at the tipped tippy top of Israel, the Upper Galillee region. The tree, well you see it here, OMG! beautiful. The butterflies? Saw several, had to be there before 6:50 AM, but they refused to allow me within 30′ of them, each seen on the trail floor.
Why this post today? From this trail you look down upon Israel’s border with Lebanon, and well beyond that, into Lebanon. Hours ago, an IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) patrol was ambushed on a road along the border, with two IDF soldiers killed and several wounded. Hezbollah terrorists killing Israelis, on the land given to the Hebrews by . . . . Within sight of this trail.
I have a daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons living in Israel.
Oh, how I hope that some of you support this tiny nation, the refuge of the bony skeletons dragged from their European homes and thrown into the ovens.
Really! I was now on page 101 of Looking for the Wild by Lyn Hancock (Doubleday Canada Limited, 1986), one of several books that retrace the 1953 trip that Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher took. Peterson and Englishman Fisher spent 100 days monitoring the health and breadth of what was left of American wilderness. Hancock, a native Australian, was following their route, and reporting how the U.S.A.’s conservation had progressed since ’53.
You remember that I’ve posted 3 images of the Israeli Eastern Strawberry tree (Abrutus Andrachne) because this tree is just . . . drop dead gorgeous!
Hancock, touting the wonders of Texas’ Big Bend National Park, writes, “The most surprising and personally satisfying tree for me was the Texas Madrone (Arbutus Texana). Its shiny brown peeling bark, glossy leaves and red berries were so familiar because it is closely related to the Pacific Madrone (Arbutus Menziesii) which on the West Coast we call simply the Arbutus Tree.”
Look again at this image, especially at that bark, at those leaves and remember another image here of green berries. Cousins, so to speak. Striking trees that bedazzle esthetes from Israel’s Upper Galilee, to southern Texas to sunny California.
Texas and Israel, connected in so many ways . . . .