Who Choreographs the Zebras?

Zebra Heliconian butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA

Life when I was a kid? Tough. I was always thinking, thinking that there was no way that I’d ever not succeed in life. I would not ever have a house with empty cupboards. With no one to offer my guidance and direction as I approached my post-teens, I knew one thing, I’d alway have bread on my table, a roof over our heads, and savagely product my kids, should I be so lucky.

It all worked out, I married very very happily and we had 4 children. I was determined to smooth my rough edges. I read the Safire column in the Sunday New York Times magazine carefully, pursued my interest in fine art, and we purchased season tickets to the American Opera and the New York City Ballet, at Lincoln Center.

When Virginia suggested that Mike Barwick would agree to lead me to the Zebra Heliconian butterflies that lived in a grove of Passionflower near his home in Kathleen, Georgia,  I jumped at the opportunity.

I tell you, when we hiked to that place, and within minutes the Zebras flew in to nectar at those Passionflower vines, I was transfixed. Their gentle, elegant flight so evoked the memories of those operas, with Frieda A”H (Of Blessed Memory). The beauty of the dance of the ballerinas . . . It was as if they studied under the Zebras, and vice versa.

Frieda has Left Us, and it’s clear to me, W-o choreographs the flight of these mesmerizing butterflies, Cathy, Susan, Leslie, Virginia, Melanie Jim, Deepthi, Lois, Marcie, Anthony, Lauren, Sylbie, Debi, Margaret, Kenne, Roger, Angela, and Barbara Ann.

Jeff

What Do You Most Want Too See?

Malachite butterfly (4) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

This was the last week of 2018. We flew to San Antonio and drove the rental car to McAllen, Texas. Why? We went to find and photograph rare butterflies of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Texas. Butterflies that you would never see in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Montana, Ohio or Virginia.

This was at the National Butterfly Center, in Mission Texas. Bingo! This Malachite butterfly, that Erato Heliconian (!!!), the Red Rim butterfly, Mexican Bluewing, Tropical Leafwing, the list of new and rare to Very Rare was long, and exciting. So much new, so little same old, same old.

We recently raised the question, do you think that we should travel long and far, or should we avoid those airport terminals, crowds, TSA looking at me (I served) as if I was a potential I don’t know what? The rental car that I treat better than my own (you let me use your car, I treat it like gold) and those many drives through places unfamiliar.

Comes now this question. What would you rather see, hard to score images of butterflies you’ve never seen before, even if those images are sometimes less than ideal OR photos of butterflies that you may have seen before, those well east of the Mississippi River, but photos that capture very fresh, very beautiful individuals?

Than comes the followup questions? Are you happy to see images of butterflies in the HolyLand? I’ve gone to Israel almost every year since 2008. Sometimes I’ve posted an image of a HolyLand butterfly that is really hard to get, only to find tepid feedback from y’all.

I sure hope you read this, and hope that you share.

Jeff