It Took Years, Years

Angela Carter and Joe Bens photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie, OH

The years went by. I was beginning. Beginning to know the butterflies of the U.S. northeast. I was never satisfied with what I could recognize, there were too many that I’d not yet found, seen.

It kept getting better. I went to Raccoon Creek State Park (southwestern Pennsylvania) as many as 50 mornings a summer. Fifty! Maybe more. I saw OMG! butterflies, often without an image to give sightings gravitas. I once saw a Goatweed leafwing butterfly there (startled me, no image) and I saw Harvester butterflies (Images scored) and . . . I once saw an Orange-barred Sulphur butterfly (again, I startled it, it startled me, and it flew up at a 82 degree angle, near as fast as an US Airforce F-15). Coral hairstreaks were seen, often going unseen for the next several years.

It took years and years to build my rep (seriously) and connect with folks who had serious trail experience. Years and years (as in lots of years). The national organization expressed zilch interest, and do not ask me how many times I traveled a good distance to find butterflies, alone, only to get ‘skunked [not find any hard to find butterflies].’ I’d post those I did shoot, sometimes reaping ‘Oh, too bad, you were just a few hundred feet from their prime habitat.’

It took years and years, ’til now, with 2017 I have new friends, who Love doing what I Love doing, and I’m sharing new stuff, from new places. Happy Boy, I am.

Angela and Joe here were with me in very southern Ohio, Adams County. She is encyclopedic with a working knowledge of Ohio trails, botany, butterflies and especially orchids. Joe too knows, knows so much, butterflies particularly. There we were. It took years and years. Good. Very good.