my husband just finished a two day writing seminar. he came back after day one to describe an ice breaking exercise, during which all the people in class were forced to say one interesting thing about themselves. in a group made up of 50 or so very typical and mostly nondescript upper midwesterners, steve came home confirmed in his recent conviction that “everyone is interesting. everyone.” on a related topic, i found these leaves on a lowly little nondescript weed in an unremarkable trail-side thicket. they left me wanting to know more.
lowly weed leaves in late october
sucker lake regional trail, saint paul, minnesota
i have three favorite color pairs: black & white, navy blue and white, and my current crush, yellow and gray. here is what color psychologists have to say about the classic yellow and gray combination: gray is practical, timeless, solid. yellow is sunshine, laughter, happiness and good times. i’ll take that in a favorite color pair. in fact, i’ll take that in a best friend.
yellow hawthorn leaf on gray wasp nest paper
island lake trail, shoreview, minnesota
it was the color of those leaves that caught my attention. but it was the single little striped fruit that kept me interested. like making small talk at a party with someone in a great dress, only to find out they also have a wicked sense of humor.
false solomon’s seal with red fruit in october
rice creek regional trail, saint paul, minnesota
if STILL blog had a quarterly publication, this would definitely be our COLOR issue. never can i remember a more colorful two weeks. usually our autumns are stretched over six weeks: an initial two weeks of flaming sumac leaves, followed by two weeks of yellow poplar and red maples, and finally two weeks of orange and russet oaks. but this year, the whole season was condensed into the same two week period. holy moley. nothing is off limits. everything is fair game: trees are three or more colors, there are whole rows of oaks with every tree a different and distinct color. and i’m seeing every shade of orange that can be imagined: peach, salmon, coral, tangerine, tomato…
maple branch with red and yellow october leaves
from my yard, saint paul, minnesota
because this is the most colorful fall season i can remember, i have begun returning from my walks with a standard warning: “i’m bringing more nature into the house!” my kitchen floor may or may not still be covered with ceramic tile, but no one will know until i remove about a dozen armloads of leaves, branches, bark, grasses, fungi, seed pods, wild fruits, feathers, pine cones, rocks, birds nests, wasp nests, and at least one dead red bellied snake. all i remember is how i felt last march, when i would have given anything for a spot of color that wasn’t brown or gray. ill take all this color gratefully until it’s gone.
an assemblage of october finds
rice creek, grass lake, and sucker lake hiking trails; saint paul, minnesota
fifteen years ago in what now feels like a previous life, i worked for honeywell inc. on the avionics for the boeing 777. as a result, i spent a lot of time in phoenix arizona, and when i wasn’t at work, i would spend my time driving around the sonoran desert photographing saguaro cacti. i never got used to the very non-organic grid of streets in downtown phoenix, nor the lack of water there, but i still miss those cacti. this mullein is the closest thing we have to those strange, gravity defying spires.
minneapolis alley, minnesota
i am having fun with these assemblages of the bits and pieces of nature that find their way onto my specimen table. for several years i have also fallen under the spell of the (swiss) cross as a design element. i have used it in journal doodles, i have sewn it into pillows, and i have even painted it on canvas. so it is really about time that i did a STILL blog assemblage in the shape of my current favorite graphic.
cross assemblage of october nature bits
saint paul, minnesota
this fern began as a tightly wound little fiddlehead seemingly only days ago, although it was actually last april, almost half a year ago, that i first saw it emerge. today my husband celebrates his 49th birthday. when i met him half a life ago, he was a tightly wound young creature full of self-involvement and promise. he has since unwound into a looser autumn version of himself, without quite losing the shape of his burstingly passionate spring. i’ll take the latest version in all its earned imperfection.
grass lake regional trail, saint paul, minnesota