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I took these photos yesterday, July 11.  I decided to just walk outside by myself for a while, my camera with me, and decompress a bit.  I will be posting Part 2 of “It’s so hard. . .” later on today, I just need a bit more time with it, and I wanted to show you all something beautiful.  The time outside was very healing for me.  I felt the presence of holiness, upon spying a tiny “Summer Azure” butterfly alight on a clover blossom at my feet.  The “Azures” are an especially “closed wing” type of butterfly, which means that they generally only unfold their wings in flight, or when drying them.  Last year you may remember, I had a number of nice photos of a couple of “Azures,” but could not capture them with open wings.  Besides, they are quite skittish, and seldom stay on one leaf or blossom for more than a few seconds.

The tiny “Azure,” (this one measured about 2/3″ from head to “tail”),  seemed to want to perch for a while, so I got down flat on the ground and started snapping photos.  Lo, and behold, he opened his wings, and the reason for his name is suddenly evident.  All in all he stayed in place on that one clover blossom for a full five minutes.  Nothing like that had ever happened to me, and there was a sense of communication between us.  I felt like he was opening his wings for me, because he sensed I needed to see them in their glory and capture them on film.  My only regret is that I am not yet a good enough photographer to do him justice; nevertheless, that small moment of communion was a holy time for me.

Following those few minutes, I noticed one of my old, former “mystery” friends, a “Hummingbird Moth” getting its fill of nectar from the blooms on our butterfly bushes.  Playing with my camera, bit by bit, I am learning certain things that it is capable of.  I did some experiments with the shutter speed and aperture to try to see if I could capture the moth’s wings as more than a blur.  I had some success, but since I know that these guys will be around for the rest of the summer, I’m pretty sure I will manage one of these days to get the photo that I really want of one of those critters.

My next surprise was to see, perched on the roof of the old shed that borders our property, one of our occasional visitors, a very shy white cat.  He is obviously quite well cared for, but for some reason, he likes to get up on the roof and survey the world around him.  We do not know to whom he belongs.  If we come too close to the shed, he will hurry away, so when I saw him there, I slowly approached with my camera.  He seemed OK up until a certain point, and then he looked ready to flee, so I backed off.  Way off.  I went up on our front porch – on the opposite end of our property from the shed – exchanged the lens on my camera for the telephoto, and started snapping away.  I still have some learning to do in the use of this lens, but some of these photos almost do him justice. (Note to self – work on “White Balance!”)

The rest of the photos – there are 39 here (I took almost 300, but for your sake I was able to narrow them down to a more manageable number for viewing!) – are of various flowers that are in bloom now around our house, with a couple of other butterflies.  There are some photos of a poor bedraggled “Buckeye” that looks like he has been through the wars already this season.  The generally closed-wing “Skippers”  were cooperative, too, and even posed open-winged for me.  Perhaps you will notice that I also included one self-portrait.

Now, I will go and work some more on Part 2 of yesterday’s post.  I do hope that you enjoy these photos.

As ever, I wish you all enough. . .

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