Sylbie at Lockerly

Sylbie Yon with Blooms photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lockerly Botanical Gardens, Millidgeville, Georgia

Help me count the ways that this photo of Sylbie Yon at Lockerly Arboretum (Millidgeville, Georgia) reminds, us of the rewards earned when we visit arboretums, parks, state parks, state and national forests, nature centers, wildlife management areas, national monuments, nature reserves and our national parks.

This was 2017, and these cultivated orchids were inviting, elegant. Unlike those British TV series, of the days of Victorian elegance, of home that most of us could never have entered at the time, these orchids were there for all, almost bringing you to a swoon, when you, as Sylbie, approach, close and admire the beautiful, soft form.

Last night was the Oscars award night. No, I didn’t. Me? I’d much prefer to spend my time about, hiking, and seeking real beauty, fragile and not in need of 3 hours of makeup, surgery, hair, color and jewelry adornments.


Americans Conserving

Nancy and John, photographed by Jeff Zablow at St. Simons Island, GA

When those who live in the cities think of the USA, most/many fret that there is near a total net loss of wild, pristine land. Our national parks persevere, but I think city people believe there is not much beyond a mile from Yellowstone’s edge.

I think I used to be that. I remember the morning in the mid ’70’s when I asked my high school Biology class to look out of the window of our 4th floor classroom. That was the first morning that you could see the Manhattan skyline (NYNY)! New York City had worked hard to clean its air, Consolidated Edison had installed scrubbers and more, and you could finally see the Empire State Building, and sadly the World Trade Towers . . . . Though I was an experienced teacher (of Biology no less), parent and homeowner, I too thought pristine territory was gone, wasted, developed.

Happily!! I was wrong. I was locked into that Huge core city, and my horizons were limited, very. Despite the 350.000.000 or so of us who live in the 50 states here, America is vast, larger than we can comprehend, and that is good.

Now, I photograph butterflies, and travel, and meet folks like Nancy and John, shown here in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Nancy and John hosted me for an unforgettable week. We sought, and found, and photographed butterflies along coastal Georgia, rare ones at that, like Salt-marsh skippers, and Eastern pygmy blues and those Tinkerbells of tininess, Little Metalmark butterflies. And we talked, and we hiked, and we obsevered. They are world class birders, now also seeking butterflies. What an experience, being on trails with such sharing, knowledgeable and experienced naturalists.

These years I am seeing more, more sylvan, pristine almost primeval habitat. It is there, and it is protected, really protected by Americans like Nancy and John. That reality is so heartwarming for Me. Forget the political dustups swirling around us (well, TBtold I am a bit distracted, but . . . ), America has vast habitat under protection, conserved, and it has smaller, yet equally well guarded destinations, and Americans all around the country have eagle-eyes focused on these large and small wildernesses, and they Will be conserved. It’s the Nancys, John, Barbara Anns, Daves, Kathryns, Jennifers, Peggys, Virginias, Mikes, Angelas, Cathys, Roses, Jerrys, Tracis, Sylbies, Ericas, Sherries and Lisas that I know, and the other 1.5 million I have yet to meet, who are monitoring, clearing trails and overall conserving this gift of North America.

We made it from ’75 to today, and the news is only . . . . good. T0 2017!