In pursuit of Nature

Mark Walker MWalker at
Wed Jan 31 11:07:24 EST 2001

Don't get me wrong - I get as googlie-eyed as the next collector when I gawk
at the rainbow of mounted specimens smartly aligned in my Academy showcase
drawers.  I equally enjoy the personal interaction that comes from strolling
within some manufactured butterfly aviary, purposely choosing brightly
colored clothing in the hopes that some tropical beauty might mistake me for
a mate (an experience made even more delightful with signs of winter raging
across the Plexiglas boundary).  And who can avoid exhilaration when walking
amongst corridors of mounted bugs - acquired over generations - either
formally presented or archived by institutions dedicated to the increased
appreciation and understanding of our Natural History?  These are all valid
ways that I enjoy my passion for the world of entomology.  But without a
doubt, none of these experiences comes close to the magic of experiencing
the miracles and mysteries of the insect world in the very habitats where
they thrive.
I am presently sitting onboard an airplane, some 35,000 feet in the air.  On
this trip, I had the unusual good fortune of owning the whole row of seats -
which allows me to read in the aisle seat (which makes for easy bio-breaks),
work on my computer in the middle seat (the aisle seat in front of me has
been reclined in my face), and peer out the window of the window seat.
I never lost the childhood pleasure of sitting at the window seat on a sunny
day - I'm just normally too anal to pass on the easy access aisle seat.  I
don't know about anyone else, but when I look out of the window on a clear
day, I become entranced by the nooks and crannies of virgin habitat below.
It beckons me, and I'm rendered powerless.  I'm kind of a map person by
nature, so when given the benefit of an aerial topological view, I quickly
get lost in the adventure of it all.  Oh, if I only had a parachute!  In
another era, I might have been Lewis - or perhaps Clark.  Or more likely the
token naturalist/coffee maker invited along for campfire conversation.  Do
you suppose anyone has ever ventured up that canyon below, searching for
signs of unusual invertebrate life?  I'll bet you could make your way up to
the top of that butte there (ignoring the layer of fresh snow, of course),
and get access to that clump of riparian habitat.  And that spot over there
- it looks desolate, but I suspect otherwise.  What might I find?  Sigh.
So many butterflies, and so little time...
Mark Walker
from our Nation's Capitol
   For subscription and related information about LEPS-L visit:

More information about the Leps-l mailing list