blank feature image
baby-snapper-2
details
do a few things well

my daughter and i are sparring right now over what her college resume ought to look like. she keeps wanting to add things to her c.v. thinking that it will look good to have been widely involved in school activities and her community. i keep saying that doing a lot of things sort-of well is worse than doing a few things really well. maybe i’ll show her this snapping turtle, whose ancestors were paddling around shallow ponds when antarctica and australia were still connected and something called the alps began rising up just north of something that would later be called the mediterranean sea. the snapping turtle is really good at snapping prey with its beak, and it has sharp claws and a hard shell. if i had a little snapper who was preparing to submit an application to evolutionary university, i wouldn’t recommend that she attempt to take up ballroom dancing, or go on a mission trip to haiti, or join the debate team. i would recommend that she emphasize her quite excellent skills at snapping prey, and defending herself with sharp claws and a hard shell. that’s all i’m saying.

snapping turtle hatchling

sucker lake regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. Traci says:

    Your images are always stunning, but I especially loved the words with this one! Good luck to you both.

  2. margie says:

    if your goal is survival then i agree with the snapping turtle but if it is accomplishment and experience then i would agree with your daughter. I don’t know if things are the same in the USA as in Canada but when you are applying for specialty programs especially in medicine and the humanities it is very important , really essential that you have a well rounded education both inside and outside of school and that you have volunteer work in your community as part of that experience. This becomes even more important than grades when you are applying for important scholarships and awards.

  3. Hello, brilliant recommendation and an interesting article, it is going to
    be interesting if this is still the situation in a few years time

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

blank feature image
transition-leaf-2
details
late middle age

if you think of those red streaks as something like graying hair, and those beetle and caterpillar nibbles as the earned blemishes of a certain age, then this leaf is evolving into a strikingly beautiful late middle age. ahh, but here’s the good part. summer leaves are only green because an overabundance of chloryphyll masks the other colors in the leaf that are present but invisible. which is another way of saying that this leaf is aging into its true self. may the same be said of all of us.

oak leaf in september

saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. margie says:

    so if i eat a ton of cholorphyll my blemishes will be hidden again :)

  2. Carol Sommers says:

    So shibui

  3. Margaret says:

    What a lovely thought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

blank feature image
cattail-sun
details
on a stick

growing up in minnesota means growing up with the minnesota state fair which is still, i believe, the largest state fair in the country, and which has evolved into a foodie experience involving avant garde cuisine served on a stick. back when i was a kid, the state fair meant walking the midway and getting nauseous on unsafe carnival rides, then seeing farm animals, then drinking fresh milk in the dairy barn, then eating cotton candy, and finally, eating pronto pups, fried and battered hot dogs that were the original food on a stick. that is a very long way of saying how much these cattails remind me of pronto pups.

september cattails

saint paul, minnesota

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

blank feature image
flicker-feather-and-willow-leaf
details
cousins who look like me

when you are blond with some scandinavian blood and you go to high school and college in minnesota and wisconsin, everybody, and i mean everybody, has a cousin “who looks just like you.” so here are two unrelated northern species. i wonder if the willow leaf gets sick of hearing how much it looks just like a yellow-shafted flicker feather.

northern flicker tail feather, and autumn willow leaf

vadnais lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. what a nice story about the both cousins ;-)

  2. Tracy Klinesteker says:

    …or visa versa…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

blank feature image
feathers-from-one-walk
details
dogs are like grandchildren, you get to spoil them

i found every one of these feathers on a single walk along my favorite trail. it is a no dogs allowed trail, except that i brought my dog anyway, which makes me a bad dog owner, but not any worse a dog owner than i already was, as you would understand if you ever met my spoiled, ill behaved puggle with a sense of entitlement and a severe case of separation anxiety.

a collection of feathers found on one 8 km walk

vadnais lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. betsy caldwell says:

    Hi! Do you know what type bird the gray feather with white dots along the outside edges come from? I find those in my yard in Nashville TN from time to time. I love polka dots!

  2. betsy caldwell says:

    Cool! Thank you! I have seen Downys here. Love this blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

blank feature image
autumn--oak-sprout-1
details
the millionaire next door

i spent about 5 years in my 30s reading every book on personal finance i could get my hands on. one of them talked about how the most common vehicle driven by millionaires was a ford f150. makes sense to me. all that wealth sitting unostentatiously in the bank gives you the peace of mind to show whatever face you want to the world. sort of like an oak sapling spending all year digging a tap root into rich soil before showing off a single, modest whorl of leaves.

white oak sprout in fall foliage

vadnais lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. margie says:

    i am not a millionaire but i also drive a ford whereas most of the other members of my profession drive lexus , audi and mercedes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

blank feature image
woodbine-leaves-in-september
details
an autumnal minor key

my pandora radio mix tells me what i already knew, that i tend to prefer music in a minor key, although i know others, including some in my household, who prefer upbeat, major scale music. similarly, when it comes to art and fashion, i shy away from primary colors, and will steer, almost in spite of myself, toward a secondary palette. so if you ask me, the colors in these autumn leaves ring out in a perfect minor visual chord.

virginia creeper (aka woodbine) vine leaves in september

vadnais lake trail, minnesota

comments
  1. o yes, they do – and they’re flowing so “still”… ;-)

  2. Becci Michalski says:

    Minor magnificence – Pink Martini’s version of Que Sera Sera

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

blank feature image
september-weed-centerpiece
details
an infinite number of monkeys

it is said that an infinite number of monkeys tapping randomly on an infinite number of keyboards would eventually type out the exact script of Hamlet. The image above is certainly less remarkable than that, but really, now many people have made a corsage out of some pretty leaves and fall flowers, only to discover that the leaves were goldenrod and the flowers were not flowers at all, but rather goldenrod midge galls, a tertiary gall type specific to goldenrod? i mean maybe not infinite, but the odds are pretty long.

goldenrod leaves in september accompanied by goldenrod midge galls

grass lake trails, shoreview, minnesota

comments
  1. LW says:

    and how lovely it looks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

blank feature image
oak-leaf-wreath
details
a milestone year

our home sits snugly beneath a number of hundred year old oak trees. in the nine years we have owned the house, i can’t remember their leaves’ ever being this colorful. most years they seem just to dry up, crisping from green to russet brown, and then rattling in the winter winds until almost the following spring. it’s sugar maples that get all the attention. but so far this year, our maples are still green, and the oldest trees in our yard, the white oaks, are dropping little gems–citrine, garnet, topaz and rubies–onto our deck. maybe it’s just the result of a wet summer. or maybe the oaks heard that steve and i, fellow old-timers, will soon be adding a 25th growth ring to our marriage, and that in such a case, gems are in order.

white oak leaves in fall colors

saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. LW says:

    positively perfect.

  2. fsmilla says:

    Wunderschön!
    LG SMilla

  3. Becci says:

    Congratulations on your silver wedding anniversary! “Silver” sounding so much better than “gray” wedding anniversary.

  4. margie says:

    i love this and bravo on 25 years. I was married 27 years before a series of unfortunate events took place. More about that one day over shared bottle of wine :)

  5. Good morning to you and your wonderful blog ;-) the oaks heard, of course!!! 25 years!!!
    A wonderful coloured composition your circle of leaves. Yesterday for my Monday-Mandala I had a similar idea

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

blank feature image
fall-grasses
details
prairie fire

ok i’m used to sumac starting on fire this time of year, but switchgrass? why has everyone been hiding this from me?

switchgrass in autumn

vadnais lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. LW says:

    i don’t know why, but i immediately thought of a box of crayons!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *