So we are on week 2 of PODcast‘s new linky Alphabet Photography Project. I had a whole list of things for B! Baby, book, bible (a family history post for the future there), black, blue, bravery, and then my mind turned to bugs and minibeasts. My childhood, and Monkey’s too. So my Alphabet Photography Project B is for Butterfly.
When I was a little girl I’d watch Dad at his bug table AKA our dining table. He’d have his setting boards, the tiniest pins you have seen in your life, a magnifying glass and his angle poise lamp on. He was ready to set a dead butterfly. Yes, he loves bugs and mini beasts, sometimes he rears them, and sometimes they would end up in his collection. I would sit and watch him prepare a butterfly which would eventually end up in his large collection, in a display case. Painstaking set, classified, dated and location noted. My Dad has the patience of a saint. It was a work of art in motion. This photo is of a moth Dad set whilst we were in Spain last year, but it gives you an idea.
I have been fascinated with butterflies all my life, my brother and I were taught to respect nature. We were taught how to use proper butterfly nets, taught not to damage these beautiful beasts, taught to let the vast majority go!
You may not agree with collecting butterflies and other insects. But actually I think it’s an important necessity. Dad has collected them since he was a small boy, he has shown me and now Monkey, butterflies that you can no longer find in this country. Lost to us, not because of people like Dad who loved them, but to progress, to the world we live in.
As children we’d often visit a place called Black Pond, near Esher with Dad. It’s somewhere he’d been bug hunting for years. I remember it as somewhere with an abundance of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. Dad would record countless beasts in his record book every time we visited. He went back a couple of years ago on a trip to England. I remember him being so depressed afterwards. Black Pond is still there, but not as we’d remember it, certainly not as Dad remembered it from his youth. He spent hours there, and saw no butterflies at all.
I spent so much of my childhood chasing after butterflies, trying to identify the species,were they male or female, taking it for granted that I’s always be surrounded by them. Times have changed, yes I still see butterflies in my garden, but not like we did when we were kids.
So without his records and collection (and other’s like him) we’d have nothing to show our children of the natural world of our own childhood.
The butterfly in this photo was taken at a Butterfly Park in Swindon (post to follow soon), it’s not native to this country, but you have to wonder if somewhere in the world, the same thing is happening, a grandfather is talking to a grandson about a native species that is no longer seen.