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!


People Plan . . . & G-d Laughs?

Jeff Zablow at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, GA

JLZ at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge on the Georgia coast. I gaze at this pic of me, and . . . I’m good with it. Gave up long, long ago comparing myself with make-believe folks, like Hollywood stars, TV personalities and Mickey and Roger and Michale Jordan and what was the name of that NY Giants football great? I stare at this, the me of me, and smile, the street kid in very real Brooklyn, the kid who took the subway to the National Golden Gloves Finals, boxed in Boys Club, took the NY subways for those years to college w/ long steel on me, kinda had Connected friends, but knew that would not be good for the future, Dean (for Discipline) in a New York City high school, managed a Staten Island multi-family and smiled as the last Connected Guy living there moved, was an artilleryman and graduated from OCS, managed buildings in New York’s Chelsea, East Village, SoHo, West Village, Upper East Side, Upper West . . . .

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Success and a firm belief in G-d are the wind to my sails now. Wealth . . . gone. Friends . . . elusive. Family . . . ‘Dad you shoot “Bugs?”‘ Hey, I LOVE seeking and photographing butterflies. I more so enjoy when YOU come along and ‘Like.’ More than that I LIKE when you ‘Comment.’ You are folks I enjoy, admire and regret that I hardly ever meet!

2021 beckons. Election over, Idiot 20-somethings disappear from the MSMedia . . . 2021 is the year I look forward to busting-out!! I want to shoot, shoot and shoot again. I’ve already received real, not imagined invites to come and be shown destinations heretofore unknown to me in Ohio, Arizona, southwestern Georgia and on the Georgia coast. The ‘Little Boy In The Candy Shop’ is so looking forward to going and meeting Facebook and WordPress friends and together investigating 2021 habitat that they know.  Budget? Meager? Heart? Doc always says “Excellent.”

The generation gone always cautioned, “People Plan . . . and G-d Laughs.” What I haven’t mentioned yet is that I’ve always been a species of Optimist. How else could I have survived the stuff written above, the knives, guns, fists, wrecks and the treachery that ended my  . . . .  Frieda A”H in her last years always (firmly) told me to go, go photograph. Some just hope to see and shoot very, very rare butterflies. Me? I expect that to happen at every turn of the trail.

People Plan . . . & G-d Laughs [at their Plan].


A Chance Meeting?

Bronze Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, Pennsylvania

Isn’t that how life often unfolds? I was working the Wetland Trail at Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. I reached the pond edge, and slowly moved along the shrubs that grew inches from the water. My eyes are trained now to spot things different, butterfly-sized.

There it was! Mama Mia!! The first Bronze Copper butterfly I’d ever seen. Stay calm, Jeff. Slowly prepare to shoot it. I was so excited, for the early morning sun was at my back, there was no breeze and the sky that morning was blue. Glassberg in his A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America has this species as “LR-LU” (Locally Rare – Locally Uncommon).

I’ve only seen one a single time after that, and that was years ago. Was this a chance meeting? After a lifetime of sometimes fighting, living amidst sometimes danger (very), watching helplessly as Frieda A”H slipped away, and those years of carrying long steel on my person, I’ve come to see such a bit differently. Here I am, and I’ve endured much, yet lookee, lookee, I am now sharing A Bronze with you, my Bronze, and a beaut!

For me, a Thank You G-d moment.