Throughout the summer, buttonbush attracts the attention of bees, butterflies, and photographers. They readily coexist peacefully, even though sometimes it might appear that conflict might imminently emerge, as in this photo of a yellow swallowtail and a bee mining nectar from opposite sides of a white, globular flower. Because bees are attracted to this bush, it is also called “honeyball.” This image carries at least two meanings in the current environment. First, the button resembles the usual representation of the COVID-19virus, as a globe with spikes. Second, as a globe, it reminds us of the existence of conflict zones around the globe, including Ukraine. So far this year, the globes are too green to attract the scarce bees and butterflies. They’ll come together again soon, in peace. The title, “Peaceful Coexistence,” recalls the words of Nakita Kruschchev to John Kennedy in 1963, “The choice for America is war or coexistence and you must choose.”
Jim Ross jumped into creative pursuits in 2015 after a rewarding career in public health research. With graduate degree from Howard University, in seven years he’s published nonfiction, fiction, poetry, photography, hybrid, and plays in over 175 journals and anthologies on five continents. Photo publications include Barnstorm, Blood Orange Review, Bombay Gin, Burningword, Camas, Columbia Journal, Feral, Friends Journal, Manchester Review, Memoryhouse, Montana Mouthful, Saw Palm, Stoneboat, Stonecoast, and Typehouse, with Whitefish forthcoming. Photo essays include Amsterdam Quarterly, Barren, DASH, Kestrel, Ilanot Review, Inklette, Litro, New World Writing, Sisyphus, Sweet, and Wordpeace, with Palaver, Paperbark and Typehouse forthcoming. A soon-to-be-released photo essay in Palaver will use postcards from 1900 to present to show how children have long becomg refugees and asylum seekers in response to war, genocide, and political oppression. Jim and his wife—parents of two health professionals and grandparents of five little ones—split their time between city and mountains.