if i told you this was a nodding trillium, would you disagree? i didn’t intend to make that connection with this photo, but something about that tucked-under blossom hiding beneath broad green leaves must be an evolutionarily advantageous trait. or maybe just a weird mutation, a bowlful of lemons that a few plants managed to turn into lemonade.
baby and juvenile milkweed seedpods
sucker lake regional trail, shoreview, minnesota
the advantages of shade
our yard is so tightly surrounded by such old trees that almost no full sun falls on any part of our property. i have long thought this a disadvantage because it means we can’t really grow a garden, which means i can’t really enjoy late summer tomatoes in the quantities i require, without turning them into a habit more expensive than cocaine. but i just googled “japanese beetle” to try to get a sense of what ate these aspen leaves, and the hatred and vitriol directed at these little beetles in garden blogs and on university extension websites appeared to be rivaled only by the comments section of a political article defending one of the two candidates for US president. if one species of beetle is causing that much frustration out there, then maybe i’m happy after all that i don’t have a fragile little vegetable garden, and that instead my yard grows trees and brush in such profusion that the japanese beetles don’t have a chance.
beetle eaten poplar leaves
sucker creek, shoreview, minnesota
i don’t know how ancient burdock is, but i find it a strangely reassuring plant. it is hard for me sometimes, despite all of the attempts to bring them alive in films and books, to imagine the dinosaurs with any vividness. but seeing a burdock leaf the size of a car hood brings the jurassic to life for me more than every cgi animated t-rex in every film i’ve seen.
my two boys went and watched the movie dunkirk today. i did not join them because i don’t do war movies very well anymore. i sometimes wonder if not having a tv and not seeing many movies has, in a funny way, re-sensitized me in a way that is opposite to the de-sensitizing effect of endless violence and horror on screens these days. i also wonder if my re-sensitization, which is something of a handicap for living in the real world–especially the current one–is actually an asset when it comes to making art. i don’t know. in any case, the movie is about a few hundred thousand british men and boys stranded on a beach in france, yearning for home, and with that in mind, even just looking at this plant, and the effects on it of being uprooted and unable to return to where it grew up, has my eyes shining. i would have been a mess in the theater.
dried jack in the pulpit
expectations and contentment
i stood in the garage looking out at the rain, scanning for a STILL blog subject and sweating in the humid july heat. i wanted to capture some element of the dense foliage, dripping with moisture, that is normally associated with the american southeast, but which minnesota, paradoxically, can produce in the midst of its incredibly lush and productive summer growing season. my ambitions were thwarted by the interference of the rain, and by a landscape i have seen so many times that it is difficult to see it anew. in the end, I decided to give up my grander ambitions and photograph this little common bindweed growing out of the crack in the driveway skirt. as so often happens when i simply lower my expectations, i was pleasantly surprised with the result.