A Whole Life of Scanning

Jenny Jean took this photo of me, scanning the bushes, trees and skies. She came highly recommended, a professional photographer charged with capturing images that demo what I do while on those trails, in those meadows and fens . . . how and what I do while on the hunt for butterflies. She’d already shot my greeting cards of Petra and I, the cards I send out each year to friends and associates, Christmas time and when I just want to stay connected with you and with my family. The Petra & Jeff cards are wildly popular, and still hang on I don’t know how many refrigerators and office walls.

This shot here, so sums up what I do these recent years, and what how I’ve managed to survive this long. As a kid in Brooklyn, I had to always be ready, always scan way down the street, scan what’s going on on those Brooklyn corners. In the New York National Guard, I used the scanning techniques they taught us at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, all that preparation for where they said we were headed: Viet Nam. Same went for OCS (Officers Candidate School), scanning the horizon, the trees and tree tops, the sky, the ground for hidden armature. Me, a high school Dean, and a high school Biology teacher in New York City and later in Pittsburgh. My city kids were a handful, and I always scanned, scanned, scanned. When I left teaching for that decade, and managed real estate in NYNYork, life was safer when you scanned those East Village, Chelsea, SoHo, Tribeca, West Village, etc. streets in the late 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s.

An epiphany that. I’ve spent my whole life preparing for this search for butterflies. I’ve been scanning since I was a little kid. To this day, when I hear a helicopter coming toward me, low in the sky, I began scanning it, only minutes later realizing that it’s not a threat to me, and I’m not toting ordinance.

Scanning has led to many successes, had me seeing tiny or well hidden rare butterflies, when others might have missed seeing them. Scanning has me seeing beauty, and many atime, it was prudent that I not be seen noticing such, ‘though I did.

A whole life of scanning, from the New York City transit systems subways, to this trail, named Nichol Road trail in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, eight hours west of Times Square, New York, New York.

Scanning is good, good for eye health and good for helping you achieve that goal of goals: survival.

Jeff

Back to the Golan Heights in 2017?

Golan Heights Seen from Belvoir Mountain National Park, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Golan Heights, Israel

A view you have never seen before. I was up on Mt. Belvoir, in the lower end of the Golan region of Israel. My search for butterflies on the mountain was so-so successful. The botany up there filled those hours, especially the other-worlds Bear’s Breeches (recently posted here).

There I was up on this mid-sized mountain, March 2016. Never been there before, and never ever saw this view. It takes some time to integrate what is shown here, and then consider that just beyond the background area shown, is Mt. Hermon.

On the north face of Mt. Hermon, is the world’s current, and bloodiest battlefield. There, now, as you read this. Scan the valley that fills the mid-ground of this image. Quiet, largely unoccupied, and green, with several very large agricultural fields here and there. Move your eyes to the line of windmills. Israel is very hip, current and windmills are that, hip and current, and if seen here in Israel, where little is wasted, I am sure, efficient.

Now just over the crest of the hill, beyond the last windmill, is the beginning of Mt. Hermon’s footprint. Down on the other side of Mt. Hermon, Syrian government forces, “Rebel” forces, ISIS forces, Hezbollah forces, Iranian forces, Russian forces, Kurdish forces, U.S. regular and irregular (CIA, Special Opps, NSA, and only Huma knows  . . . ?), Turkish forces, elements of Hamas, Al Queda are all either fighting, or circling one another like wrestlers at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

So you see, this modest exercise in Golan geography also has us almost peeking into the reason that hundreds of thousands of Syrians are pouring out from Syria and walking to Europe and North America. Their life has been like some recent Hollywood movies, with legions of bloodthirsty people and aliens coming into bucolic Syrian towns and farmland, destroying, mortaring, murdering and raping the people who live there.

Israel remains So Strong, that this nexus of armies and mercenaries and crazies stops at the border. No one wants to be met by F-15’s piloted by well-trained young men and women, themselves very adept at using the very latest tech equipment that they have at their finger tips, Thank G-d.

Footnote: I hope to return to this green, verdant Golan region in Spring ’17 to again hunt for butterflies & visit my grandsons, too.

Jeff