November 08, 2018

What Gives You 'Oxygen'?

buckeye
Common Buckeye

As airline passengers, we're instructed--should there ever be an emergency--to put on our own oxygen masks first before helping others. It's a physical reality that if we can't breathe, we can't help.

The same advice is used in the self-care field to illustrate how we must ensure our own emotional, spiritual, and physical health to be able to help others. All of us face difficult challenges and times in life--times when the burdens, stresses, and sadness are so great that we feel pushed to the limits.

This year has been one of those times for me--the personal and other challenges have been really tough...too complicated and difficult to share here. But we all face these times. Of course, I know I'm not alone--family, friends, and faith provide "oxygen" to help me through. I know others go through these times, too.

Another thing that provides oxygen for me, personally, is chasing butterflies. A few hours of hiking with a camera, snapping photos of butterflies, and later reporting them to citizen science sites can serve as balm to my challenged soul.

This post includes a few of the butterfly photos (and a couple of moths!) I collected during the past spring, summer, and fall. Reviewing them reminds me of the difficult thoughts on my mind as I was taking them. It also makes me happy...because I know how cathartic it was to see each butterfly, and to live in the moment of its unique beauty.

I don't include all the photos here--there were hundreds. Some were reported to citizen science organizations* even though the photo quality was poor. Others, particularly the Monarchs and the Viceroys, were so plentiful this season that I only included a few. Not all the butterflies, nor the photos, are perfect...but that's the point. They were real, they were flying free, and they provided great comfort. I include them here, generally, in order from spring through fall, but not necessarily in exact order. (Click on any image to enlarge it or to navigate through the Flickr album.)

monarch 9
Monarch

tiger swallowtail 2
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

monarch 2
Monarch

giant swallowtail
Giant Swallowtail

wood nymph 1
Common Wood-Nymph

red admiral 2
Red Admiral

tawny emperor
Tawny Emperor

viceroy
Viceroy

eastern tailed blue
Eastern Tailed-Blue

wood nymph 2
Common Wood-Nymph

monarchs on zinnias
Monarchs

chickweed geometer
Chickweed Geometer (moth)

monarch
Monarch that I raised and released

clouded sulphur 2
Clouded Sulphur

pecks 2
Peck's Skipper

red sp purple 2
Red-Spotted Purple

tiger swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

eastern comma
Eastern Comma

buckeye 2
Common Buckeye

monarch 7
Monarch

red sp purple 1
Red-Spotted Purple

pearl crescent
Pearl Crescent

summer spring azure
'Summer' Spring Azure

monarch 5
Monarch

red admiral 3
Red Admiral

corn earworm moth
Corn Earworm (moth)

monarch 4
Monarch

viceroy 2
Viceroy

red admiral 4
Red Admiral

monarch 6
Monarch

summer spring azure 2
'Summer' Spring Azure

viceroys
Viceroys

red admiral
Red Admiral

monarch 8
Monarch

silver-spotted skipper
Silver-Spotted Skipper

viceroys 2
Viceroys

monarch 1
Monarch

clouded sulphur
Clouded Sulphur

monarch & sunflowers
Monarch

skipper flying
Silver-Spotted Skipper

How about you? What gives you "oxygen"?

*Here are just a few of the North American citizen science organizations that welcome reports of butterfly sightings: wisconsinbutterflies.org, journeynorth.org, e-butterfly.orgbutterfliesandmoths.org.