Lady of the Night

This night I see a luminescent trail
Of powdered stardust, faint and pale,
Across the sky, like moths in flight.
A crescent moon of phantom white
Is tangled in the filmy veil.
My heart responds in quick delight,
I greet the lady of the night.

--- Illustration and poem by Don Blanding, c. 1935 ---
— Illustration and poem by Don Blanding, c. 1935 —


Magic Exists.

I must tell you about my interest in Lepidoptera. My great child-like interest in Butterflies and Moths. When I see one my eyes lock in on it, I follow it as far as I must go until it settles so that I can look upon it’s beauty.

Today was one of those days, a day to remind you that magic exists. We reached our first stop. An area that looked as if a pool of light had turned into pale sand as it touched the earth.  Enclosed by the Oribi Gorge forest and the Samango Falls, we settled down to take in the view, have a snack and quench our thirst.

Sansung S3 image taken by fellow trekker Deane (The Journeyman).
Sansung S3 image taken by fellow trekker Deane (The Journeyman).

Just then a large butterfly came floppying into sight. Low enough to touch and then up beyond reach. I watched in delight calling out to the others, “I have not seen one like this before”. Camera in hand I did my best to get as close as possible, but my 18-55mm lens just can’t reach. I always bring backup, so out came my little “point and shoot” camera, the zoom was fantastic. I managed to get a shot…

An Emperor Swallowtail captured using my Canon PowerShot SX210 IS at Oribi Gorge.
An Emperor Swallowtail captured using my Canon PowerShot SX210 IS at Oribi Gorge.

After consulting our Steve Woodhall Butterflies book I did some further research and found this blog, Afromacro. If you are fascinated with butterflies like I am, it is a endless source of information.

I would not want to live in a world without magic…

I pray that the world never runs out of dragons.
I say that in all sincerity, though I have played the part in the death of one great wyrm.
For the dragon is the quint essential enemy, the greatest foe, the unconquerable epitome of devastation.
The dragon, above all other creatures, even the demons and the devils, evokes images of dark grandeur, of the greatest beast curled asleep on the greatest treasure hoard.
They are the ultimate fright of the child.
They are older than the elves and more akin to the earth than the dwarves.
The great dragons are the preternatural beast, the basic element of the beast, that darkest part of our imagination.
The wizards can not tell you of their origin, though they believe that a great wizard, a god of wizards, must have played some role in the first spawning of the beast.
The elves, with their long fables explaining the creation of every aspect of the world, have many ancient tales concerning the origin of the dragons, but they admit, privately, that they really have no idea of how the dragons came to be.
My own belief is more simple, and yet, more complicated by far.
I believe that the dragons appeared in the world immediately after the spawning of the  first reasoning race.
I do not credit any god of wizards with their creation, but rather, the most basic imagination, wrought of unseen fears, of those first reasoning mortals.
We make the dragons as we make the gods, because we need them, because, somewhere deep in our hearts, we recognize that the world without them is a world not worth living in.
There are some many people in the land who want an answer, a definitive answer, for everything in life, and even for everything after life.
They study and they test, and because those few find the answers for some simple questions, they assume that there are answers to be had for every question.
What was the world like before there were people?
Was there nothing but darkness before the sun and the stars?
Was there anything at all?
What were we , each of us, before we were born?
and what, most importantly of all, shall we be after we die?
Out of compassion, I hope that those questioners never find that which they seek.
One self-proclaimed prophet came through Ten-Towns denying the possibility of an afterlife, claiming that those people who had died and were raised by priests, had in fact, never died, and that their claims of experiences beyond the grave were an elaborate trick played on them by their own hearts, a ruse to ease the path to nothingness.
For that is all there was, he said, an emptiness, a nothingness.
Never in my life have I ever heard one begging so desperately for someone to prove him wrong.
For what we are left with if there remains no mystery?
What hope might we find if we know all of the answers?
What is it within us, then, that so desperately wants to deny magic and to unravel mystery?
Fear, i presume, based on the many uncertainties of life and the greatest uncertainty of death.
Put those fears aside, I say, and live free of them, for if we just step back and watch the truth of the world, we will find that there is indeed magic all about us, unexplainable by numbers and formulas.
What is the passion evoked by the stirring speech of the commander before the desperate battle, if not magic?
What is the peace that an infant might know in its mother’s arms if not magic?
What is love, if not magic?
No,I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.
And that, I fear, for any reasoning, conscious being, would be the cruelest trick of all.

R.A. Salvatore