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the color issue

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

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a colorful season

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

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  1. betsy caldwell says:

    Like how you left your signature in lower right corner.: )

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a minnesota cactus

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.

common mullein

minneapolis alley, minnesota

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cross my heart

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

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  1. erica andree says:

    looks like first aid for nature deficit disorder

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unwound

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.

fern leaf

grass lake regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

 

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  1. Anne says:

    There are tears of joy in my eyes. What a lovely sentiment.

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peak

R.O.Y.  G.   . . .

pin oak leaves in four colors

grass lake regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

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map of the okavango delta

in the same way that a bare winter linden tree can sometimes look like the map of a major watershed, i decided that the work of this burdock borer larva resembled the crazy oxbows of the okavango delta. of course, it also looks like the scribbling of a two year old on an etch-a-sketch, which makes it more difficult to philosophize on the recurring patterns of nature and their deeper purposes.

burdock borer moth larva trails on a burdock leaf

grass lake regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    i love contemplating these patterns.

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all of ocotober in a single leaf

this maple leaf appears as conflicted about the onset of fall as i am. wait, it’s still sort of summer. wait, no it’s not. well, ok, it’s sort of in-between. sure but look at how low the sun is. yeah but it just hit seventy degrees today. well, you know that won’t last for long. true, but the grass is still green. granted, but the cattails are brown. well, how about the fishermen still out on the lake. yes, but listen to all those leaf blowers on the wind. oh, fine. you win.

maple leaf in october

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    i love its curls and ripples

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rue the day

we knew this day would come. you can’t decide to raise six chickens quasi-free-range among 30 acres of northern hardwoods full of coyotes, raccoons, eagles, hawks, owls, ospreys, weasels and foxes, and expect everybody to just get along indefinitely. in fact it is a wonder that all six of our girls lasted through a year and a half of bossy and entitled quasi-freedom. rue was not the bossiest, or the most entitled (glimmer wins both of those awards), but she was the least containable. she always found her way out of every pen, cage, and run, and we would find her most days ambling past steve’s home office window, or scratching for bugs with her fluffy butt in the air some hundred yards up into the woods, or wandering through the open front door and pecking crumbs from the kitchen floor, while her sisters searched in vain for a way out of their chicken wire enclosure. so it makes sense that when the fox came for a visit, he would run into rue first. we found her lying very still and peaceful right next to where steve chased the fox off, after he released glimmer, his second intended victim, from between his jaws and let her sprint back toward the house only a few scratches and puncture wounds the worse for her experience. but it was too late for rue, and we will miss her.

feathers from rue, our golden buff chicken

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. Allways exciting and amazing to have a look on your pics and read the words…, and still. Thanks. Ghislana

  2. Carol Sommers says:

    Very sad but beautiful

  3. Tracy Klinesteker says:

    R.I.P.

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different stripes

when i traveled through europe in college in the 1980s, president reagan was not popular on that side of the atlantic. it was common to sew a canadian flag on our backpacks in order to avoid trouble. i also happened to be dating a canadian hockey player at the time. then when my husband and i went on our honeymoon, we drove up the saint lawrence and stayed in quebec city. these maple leaves have me wondering if i’m not just a little bit canadian.

maple leaves in mid-october

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. Ellen says:

    This is the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving.

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