The Butterfly and the Bee

As we all know, I have a low threshold of fascination. Today for example as I have been working on a book, I have also been keeping an eye on my petunias. I have never had petunias before, so perhaps that accounts for some of the fascination.  But really what garnered my attention for the last few hours is two visitors: a butterfly and an bee.

Initially actually I was watching a pail of water. It’s very hot today and I had set out what I hoped would be a makeshift birdbath. As I watched the pail, the water looked still and undisturbed. But the bright sun threw a reflection of the water onto the roof of my porch. In the reflection I could see the water moving, from the wind or maybe convection currents as the water heated in the brutal daylight. The reflection also showed the rippling waves as my gift evaporated. I felt like I  had my own little Plato’s cave, except the reflection was truer than the actual. Though I suspect that was true of Plato's as well. 

But then the butterfly appeared, a large one, likely a swallowtail  (my older brother would know), black wings with blue and gold spots. She (I think) kept flying around the weeds in my little garden. I have weeds in my garden, a lot of them this year. I leave them there because I don’t hurt anything if I don’t have to and they seem to feel the same. Anyway, the butterfly kept landing on one after another of the weeds, continually disappointed I assume, and completely ignorant of the cornucopia of petunias in the hanging basket not five feet overhead. Every once in a while she would float up and I would think—there, now she’s finally got it! But, so far at least, she has not made the leap. Perhaps it was an aesthetic choice and green is her preference. But the purple and pink treasure remained unclaimed. By the butterfly anyway.

The bee came later. A tiny one—though as scarce as bees have become around here I was glad to see any—found the petunias. But instead of gorging on the large full flowers, he instead insisted on trying to make his way into the nearly closed nearly dead blossoms, skipping entirely the glorious siblings. I watched him disappear into the narrow passage, and could see the from the turbulence outside the tunnel how difficult his passage was. I don’t if he made all the way it in, nor what he found when he got there. Maybe he just wanted a challenge. Or maybe the ripened juice is sweeter. Perhaps the bee knew his business better than I.

There are many morals that could be drawn here. But I will leave it to you, and the butterfly, and the bee. My wish is simply this: May you be  fascinated by flowers.

(Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay )

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Tree Song

I don’t know why the caged bird sings. But I think I may have finally figured out why the others do.

I take walks every day down a wooded path behind my home. Sometimes so many birds are singing it sounds like a choir. Other times there are only one or two at each turn of the path. Occasionally the songs sound like a dialogue, sometimes a Bach canon. But most often the sounds are clearly ecstatic, a brimming forth of some secret joy.

I believe I have discovered the source of that joy. Each bird is singing about how beautiful its tree is. How delicately shaped each leaf as it twists in the breeze. How the broad canvas of the whole creates ever evolving shadows on the ground. How the Fibonacci architecture of the branches leads right up to the sky.

Birds never sing about what time they have to get to the bird feeder, or whether they need a bath, or the bird next door, or even that tree they saw two weeks ago. They only sing of the beauty in front of them.

Each bird sings in its own language. Birds are very smart; each knows all the languages of all the birds. But when they sing of trees they sing in their own tongue, the one they hold in their heart.

And when they fly to the next tree, birds sing about how beautiful that tree is. And I agree with them.

I have never seen a tree that was not beautiful, from smallest sapling to startling senior. And unique – no tree the same as any other– even the aspen trees (which reproduce by what is called root sprouting and are in a sense one tree) are genetically identical but never quite the same in appearance. I wonder sometimes if  the beauty of trees has something to do with their uniqueness—and if we were more aware of it in humankind, we might see more beauty in each other.

Do the trees listen to the birds? I think so. Do they appreciate the praise? I’m not so sure. The lives of trees seem unconcerned with birds, or squirrels, or humans. They have their own purposes in their long lives.

What beauty do trees sing about?

I doubt we will ever know.

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Peace

I was sitting outside on my porch today reading for a few hours. All during that time birds came visiting. First there was a beautiful jay, stunning blue and quiet for once, nestled into a spot in the sun just a few feet away. Then a robin. Then a few grosbeaks. Some sparrows. Dad’s favorite wren who lives in the azalea next door. A woodpecker on the nearby tree. Others I couldn’t name. And now there is a doe settled in the shadowed grass about 100 feet away, testing the breeze, with a young buck standing close. Just living. All just living.

Why can’t every place be this peaceful?

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Between Sedona Arizona And Mizpe Ramon Israel

In the late eighties we spent a sabbatical in Tucson Arizona. Driving from snowy Iowa City in late December, to a place where the sun was shining on the colorful mountains and the air smelt of citrus blooming, I felt like I had reached paradise.

During that semester we did a lot of travelling in the Southwest. We were especially impressed with the magnificent formations and the different colors of the mountains. One favorite destination was Red Rock Canyon in Northern Arizona, where we stayed in Sedona, the quaint town by the Canyon.

A year later when we returned to Israel, we drove one  afternoon to Mizpe Ramon (Ramon Observation Point) on the rim of the Ramon Crater, and were struck by the beauty of the place.

Please keep readin in the Times Of Israel 

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/between-sedona-arizona-and-mizpe-ramon/

 

blog post sedona 1

 

 

 

post sedona 2

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