Friday, June 18, 2010

The International Butterfly Festival and the Disaster in the Gulf

I feel like June has come and gone without warning. Time seems to fly by so quickly in the spring and summer yet it always seems to stand still in the boring months of January and February :P Oh well. I am on a semi-art show break for the summer though I still have some events next month and one today. This evening I will be selling my art on the sidewalk in front of Poor Richard's Art in downtown Rogers across from the park. The third Friday evening of the month from May to September they have sidewalk artists sell their art outside. I participated in this art walk last year and this past month; I look forward to seeing some familiar faces tonight. I always though Rogers had a very cute old-fashioned downtown district and I know the residents are very proud of and want to preserve it. The day has dawned beautifully so perhaps the weather might hold. I am looking forward to next weekend because my birthday is coming up on July 1st and like last year Josh is taking me to the International Butterfly Festival in Paris. The Ouachitas are beautiful like the Ozarks but in a different way. They are taller and real mountains, not plateaus like the Ozarks. I always thought the Ozarks looked more like mountains because they are more rolling. The Ouachitas near Paris rise up abruptly out of the flat River Valley. It's always a sight to behold driving down there. Last year we left at 4:30 am so we could make it up to the early morning hike. The interpreter attracted a Scarlet Tanager (they are shy and I had never seen one before) and a male Indigo Bunting, who thought the bird call the guide used was a rival male. The bunting sang right in front of us! I am happy to say that Indigo Buntings are very common at our new home and we see them at our bird feeder every day. I recently snapped a good picture of one and it's on my drawing to-do list :) Last night we walked around Terra behind our house and saw a doe. She seemed very tame and kept feeding while we watched her; deer are never hunted on Terra property. This year we are hoping to get up there even earlier or camp overnight so we can go on the moth hike at 6:00 am. Last year they saw a Luna Moth while on that hike! Lori Spencer, the author of Arkansas Butterflies and Moths, will be leading that hike. I bought her book last year there and had her sign it. It has been a wonderful and useful guide since. I am hoping to snap a picture of a Diana Fritillery while at Mt. Magazine. This species is declining and the park is a valuable habitat for them. It is also the State Butterfly of Arkansas. Unlike many butterflies both sexes are beautifully marked in vary different coloration and many have thought they were different species. Males are bright orange and brown while females are a gorgeous bright blue and black. I can hardly wait to hopefully have some pictures to draw from!
   While the summer goes on in all its beauty I continue to watch the disaster unfold in the gulf. It is heartbreaking this ever happened. I wonder how many safety standards were neglected. 11 people lost their lives as well as thousands of animals. Many sea turtles and pelicans were killed; the Brown Pelican was removed from the US federal endangered and threatened species list just last November! I wonder now if it may have to be put back on it :( The marshes are also being destroyed and that is a catastrophe in and of itself, not only because of the habitat they provide. Marshes also act as buffers between the ocean and land. I don't think we will know the full affects of this for quite some time. One thing I saw that infuriates me is that BP was withholding pictures of oil-soaked and dead animals and literally "whisking them away" out of the media's sight. They don't want the destruction to be seen! What about the animals they whisked away that were still alive? How cruel! What about the shrimper? The fisherman? The seafood diner? The hotel? The surf shop? Everyone down there is losing the tourism and seafood industry, their source of livelihood. How can they pay their house payment or rent now? How can they feed their children? This is a terrible thing and I'm angry about it like our nation is now. I feel so helpless and unable to do anything! I am too poor to donate much of anything, I wish I was rich and could give millions! I can't take off a week to drive down there and volunteer. All I know is that this will be going on for a while, and it will takes decades to recover. The marshes and ocean may never be the same there :( My hope is that this will wake us up to the fact that #1 we cannot be lax on safety standards and #2 we have to get away from oil as a fuel source. It will run out one day anyhow then we will be in the same oil-soaked boat. It will take the greatest minds, scientists, engineers, and many others working together to figure out our energy crisis. I want a solution to this mess, I think everyone does.