Recently, I took my dog on a short hike in the forest. While there I noticed a beautiful butterfly I have never captured before. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of new never-before-captured-by-mebutterflies this season. This one really caught my eye. It reminded me of another butterfly I’ve really been enchanted with this year, the white “Orange Tip” which I have not been able to capture either. Often when I’ve come across butterflies I simply do not have my camera ready in hand, or it is stowed away in my backpack while hiking multiple river crossings. But this time I had my camera out and ready. I watched as one danced in and around the trees surrounding me. Then I began to notice several throughout the forest. So, I just sat. And sat, and sat, and sat… Then one finally came and landed near me! I let go and it came… With butterflies you sometimes just have to take what you can get. It’s not the best shot but it made me happy.
This time last year, I was elated to discover a glow worm in my yard one night. When I say elated, I mean enthralled! I couldn’t believe it. Growing up in the midwest, fireflies were a normal summer-time delight. One never tires of their magical whimsy. I never will. In college I even gave a presentation on bioluminescence. It is one of my favorite “super-powers” of our fellow earthly creatures. They remain a beautiful highlight of my early experiences with nature. This time it was a glow worm, I gasped with excitement upon the discovery. While in my elation, I was slightly frustrated with my partner’s lack of enthusiasm for finding a glow worm in our yard! Then, I only found the one. This year I found 8 ! I’ll never tire of these natural wonders.
During the past few weeks I’ve spent some time doing assessments for our next major restoration project. The site is located in one of my favorite places: the Chihuahuan Desert. While camping there, the sights, smells and sounds bring a smile to my face. I know this place, its creatures, sights, and scents intimately. One night, I spotted no more than 4 feet from my tent, a coiled Western Diamondback (Atrox crotalus). It shifted a bit in place as we noticed each other. Respecting its presence, I gave the snake it’s space. It felt like seeing an old familiar face and friend. I went off in opposite direction to pee and when I returned the snake was still there, after a few moments the snake turned off and disappeared beneath a nearby acacia. The Diamondback had left a circular imprint in the earth where it was coiled, it was a sweet reminder of it presence.
Thank you for honoring our wild community with me.
Stay Wild, Stay Kind