Summoning the Little Boy

Monarch caterpillar on Asclepias leaf, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Just as quickly as I just opened this image of a Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, the Little Boy in me showed up, summoned by the Mystery of this phenomenon. At the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, in Eatonton, Georgia.

We have photos in my archival photo albums, of Jeff as a boy, in Brooklyn, at the beach at Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York and at the other side of that Peninsula, at the water’s edge of the bay. I have photos of Jeff on Grand Bahama Island, turning over rocks, searching for living things. That has long been a family giggle, Jeff, Dad, examine, searching, following, studying living things, usually bent over, crouching.

This Danaus plexippus caterpillar just mesmerizes me. The color, the body plan, those true and false legs, its slow, plodding movement, that slower, carefree feeding. How it’s goes through instars, how it seemed too big to exit from its tiny egg. I grew up in Brooklyn, on the streets, and it took several years, when I moved to Pittsburgh, for me to lessen the need to always know who was behind me . . . and this larva packs its own defenses, without need to carry cold steel just in case. How with so many predators in its neighborhood, it has reached this level of success?

I’m telling you, this image just summons the Little Boy in me. Forget the image of me you’ve seen, that Little Boy is just . . . .

Jeff

A Spider’s Web

Spider Web photographed in Raystown Lake, PA

Stunning! Our early morning visit to Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania found dozens of displays of artwork along the water’s edge. Each supported who knows how many droplets of water. Prisms all, they dazzled and titillated.

Which artisans worked to craft these? Were they meant to be disassembled and rebuilt again? We didn’t stop to learn whether this was the work of Black and Yellow Argiopes or of the several species of Orbweavers.

These bejeweled webs do claim countless butterflies. That is reason enough to post it here on wingedbeauty.com. This has been the story since the beginning. So in the end this is our world.

How much time have we spent trying to understand how spiders meticulously construct such webs and, how their delicate proteins hold all but the largest of insects, even after countless minutes spent flaying away to attempt escape.

Why do you photograph butterflies, I’m asked? Because of their beauty. It surpasses the finest work of the world’s premier jewelry artisans. So too this gorgeous web demands….Stop and take a look!

Jeff