This Spring’s Feast of Colors and Welcomed Arrival of Butterflies

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly resting on a leaf photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

The perennials, bushes and trees in our 1-year young 800 Macon Garden are budding out now. Many are looking spectacular, including irises, Joe Pye, Sassafras’s, Clematis, Asters (many, many different asters), Buttonbush, Hibiscus, Liatris . . . . Senna are on order and will soon be delivered. Mountain Mint is doing its quick spreading thing (and we are pleased with that). Lindens and Hackberry trees look robust, Hercules Club new leaves have superb color . . . Butterflies have begun appearing, especially male Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies.

This enjoyable ‘wave’ of pleasing green, the flowers that have opened so far (Chokecherry, Chokeberry, Alabama Croton) have primed us for the 50,000 Azalea blossoms that will open this coming week. Soon the irises will open, and the Turtlehead too, and the many, many coneflowers, tradescantia, Brickellia, Florida Dogwood . . . .

The excitement for us is way up, the feast of colors that is being prepared and the welcomed arrival of flights of butterflies all remind of the infinite beauty of G-d’s Creations.

With Passover and Easter approaching, all of this so buttresses us, after the last, remarkable year. Look again at this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. How Beautiful is this meticulously crafted butterfly, she, G-d’s gift to us all?

Raccoon Creek State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania, some 8 hours from Grand Central Station in New York, New York

Jeff

Gorgeous Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Reminds Me of New York’s Rockettes

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly resting on a leaf photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

I was not raised in a small, rural town. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, with officially 3,000,000 people in that borough. We always knew that with the uncounted immigrants there at any time, the real number of those living in Brooklyn was nearly 4,000,000. I travelled by New York City subway for decades, amongst the hundreds of thousands who used the subway any morning or afternoon. Remember, I was the young guy, who as a delivery messenger working in Manhattan after college those years, had a package to be delivered to a Rockette in Radio City Music Hall, and there, was told to take it into the Rockette in the Rockette dressing room. I did, and I was briefly, immersed in infinite beauty, momentarily, but long enough.

All this by way of sharing that I have seen beauty and do find myself awestruck when natural beauty is one in a million. Like some, I get tongue-tied, despite that other facet of me, that having experienced temporary financial success, I am not awed in the presence of the very wealthy, celebrities or ‘stars.’ Beautiful women did/do quiet me down some.

Know then that when I happen onto certain butterflies, as a Gorgeous female tiger swallowtail butterfly, I find myself almost apologetic, as if I am intruding on her. I’ve experienced that quite a few times, and no amount of rationalization erased that feeling for the next time . . . .

Raccoon Creek State Park’s Nichol Road trail in southwestern Pennsylvania, an 8 hours drive west from that Radio City Music Hall in New York, New York.

Jeff

Former Artillery Officer Now Assigned To Puddle Duty

What’s it like to revisit moments that you cherished, loved, revered and favored? I know what that’s like, and y’all do too. We’ve been hunting down beauty, infinite beauty for that long, and all the time we knew how Blessed we were. Me? Freed from the high school classroom, freed from those 2nd and 3rd jobs when the kids were in private schools and universities. Past the at times deadly streets of Brooklyn, still carrying long steel, but this time should feral dogs bother.

Released from the 1980’s when real estate in Manhattan brought me substantial material success, such later stolen by something called ‘Partners.’ Extricated so long ago from an early association with ‘Connected’ guys. Outgrown my childhood home, where at times there was  . . . no food. No longer a Dean of Boys in a Queens, New York high school, and see, not once been stuck or shot, not once (Thank Y-u).

Endured those years of Frieda’s battle with Cancer, later, sadly reverting to “caregiver” when she could no longer cook, bake, clean, sew, shop . . . .

Trained as an artillery (cannon) officer, just as Viet Nam was just beginning to heat up. My battalion of NYC cops (“bulls” was more like it) and NYC Sanitation workers were told repeatedly that we’d be getting orders to ship out, but those orders never came. Did G-d have a hand in that too?

Robotically approaching this puddle on Nichol Road Trail in Raccoon Creek State Park (Jenny Jean Photography capably took this image), I hadn’t forgotten have much I loved it all. I so appreciated the chance to find Harvester Butterflies or Mourning Cloaks or Eastern Commas or Northern Pearly-Eyes peacefully imbibing mineral-laced moisture from that little puddle. The possibility that I’d find ’em and photograph ’em, and score a Good Image, so excited me.

From Artillery Officer to High School Dean to Errand Runner for ‘Them’ to Husband of an ‘IGC’ Beauty . . . to sitting at several Ivy League graduation ceremonies to shooting Uber rare butterflies on the peak of Mt. Hermon in the HolyLand. Wow!

Jeff

Why Travel To the National Butterfly Center to See A Texan Crescent Butterfly?

Texan crescent butterfly (male) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

That visit? Amazing! Nancy, John and I travelled from Georgia to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Standing there, just a mile or two from the border wall with Mexico? A never to be forgotten experience. I loved it. It was my first visit to the NBC. I was in a benign kind of shock. There we were, Christmas week, with temperatures sometimes in the low 90’s, and butterflies new to me there, and there, and almost . . . everywhere.

Yes I’ve seen much in my life, and travelled some. How many butterflies seen? Who knows? 200,000? This Texan Crescent, the Red Rim, that Erato Heliconian, the Mexican Bluewing, plus the Julia Heliconian, Fatal Metalmark, adds to those the Tropical Leafwing, a gorgeous Common Mestra . . . all the way to the world’s most beautiful Malachite butterfly and many Skipper butterflies new to me. I was in a state of euphoria not often enjoyed.

Back home, my family never opens these 900+ posts, friends don’t either and my last home, with its 2-year old 303 Garden, that was often a crowded freeway of butterflies, it never had a single person request to have a look at it. That I’m a seasoned guy now, helps, for I accept. Accept much. Nearly all possess no interest in all of this, are hardened to their milieu, their daily life spaces. Getting down to it, I sent kids to some of the USA’s ‘top’ schools, and now, they never visit here?

Why travel to see a Texan Crescent? This Texan Crescent? If you’re here, right here, I applaud you, and a gold star should definitely be issue/awarded to you, for you are 1) an Esthete and 2) one way or another appreciate the infinite beauty G-d has created.

Jeff