this was a frustrating one. the original branch of proto-blossoms was so beautiful, and complex, and subtle, that i thought i wanted to fit the whole thing into the frame. but then it just looked like a branch, once it had been translated int 2D. so i cropped in closer, and the buds came into more focus, but i had lost the great sweep of the branch as a whole, and it was neither about the blossoms, nor about the branch. so i came in really close, and the buds were sort of palmed in a fascinating way by the green fingers of their calices, but then it felt like any other close-up still blog photo. so i pulled out a little farther and took this photo, which captures the little jesters caps of the blossoms well enough, and hints at the beauty and abundance of the branch as a whole, but is, in the end, a compromise not a celebration. and then i ran out of light. so you get this story, instead of the photo i had in my head when i first clipped this branch from a crabapple tree that will soon explode with thousands of silent white detonations.
crab apple buds
rice creek trail, shoreview, minnesota
i photographed this maple blossom after spending an entire evening watching migratory warblers fluttering around the top of the sugar maple next to our rear deck. but that’s not the story i want to tell. the story i want to tell is about how i photographed this blossom over a period of maybe 5 minutes, and as i scrolled down the 20 or so resulting photos on my computer, i could watch the blossom head gradually droop a little bit more in each frame, like one of those old decks of cards that show you a short movie when you shuffle through them fast. it reminded me of how short all of our lives would be without water, and then in a bigger way, how short our existence will be, and how much beauty will be lost, if we don’t take better care of this earth of ours. my unoriginal but heartfelt earth day thoughts, for what they are worth.
sugar maple blossom
saint paul, minnesota
today in the backyard we watched two robins stalk toward each other and then flitter up in the air like fighting cocks, over and over again. they must have been exhausted by the end of the night. but they kept fighting and walking away, and then coming back to fight some more. one of them had decided that this piece of ground was home. and the other had decided that the first guy was wrong. and home is not something you take lightly.
assorted bird nests
new growth old growth
my eighty-one year old neighbor, bruce, knocked on the door today to give this gift. he had a 70 year old spruce tree in his yard that was leaning too far over the power lines and needed to be cut down. when the power company felled the tree, this bud-laden branch full of pollen was at the very top, and bruce thought of me. i wish i knew a better way than a photo to celebrate the tree’s beautiful final act of rebirth.
black spruce male pollen cones
turtle lake, shoreview, minnesota
each april i watch the weeping willows in our neighborhood turn a brilliant chartreuse as the long flowing switches fill with sap. there is one that hangs over the road at an intersection i pass through daily. it’s like driving through a car wash. i passed it twice this weekend on the way to and from my mom’s house and each time i said to myself “i should stop and grab some for STILL.” and of course, i didn’t. so, today when i finally did stop, it came as no surprise to see that me beloved catkins had already started to go to seed. instead of jaunty little ears of corn on the cob, they look like anemic caterpillars. after four years of STILL blog, i am still surprised at what a difference a day makes in spring.
weeping willow branches with catkins
turtle lake, shoreview, minnesota