here is a first draft of my coat of arms. i don’t know. there might be some arrows in there. and maybe a bow. and some symbolic sheaves of rye. but mostly it represents lots of walks along the grassy margins of suburban woodlands. i am a trail walker. hear me roar.
family crest of winter grasses. raaahr.
old and falling apart.
you can look at the tattered leaf, but how about that smoothly muscled forearm, and those strong fingers? you can’t make me sad about being a sunflower in winter. sorry.
sunflower leaf in winter
a lot of the things i love most are on the edges or in the in-betweens. the first edge of spring when winter is in the air but the palest green haze of bursting buds is visible among the branches of the trees. the grays of november between fall and true winter. what i love about these cattail stems is how precariously poised they are between a stiffness that would not be graceful and a looseness that would not give them form. as they are, they submit to the wind, bending and straightening, but always insisting on their shape, in a suspension that is never quite rest.
winter cattail leaves
veins and capillaries
the veins in a leaf are like three of our body systems in one: they are like the skeleton because they hold the whole leaf open and allow it to capture sunlight and not get damaged too easily by the elements. they are like the circulatory system because distribute water from the roots up to all the cells within the leaf. and they are like a nervous system because there are chemical signals that are transmitted to the leaves from other parts of the plant through the liquid in the veins. they are also hauntingly pretty when all the chlorophyll has retreated and left behind nothing but a pattern of veins.
inordinate fondness for seedpods
j. b. s. haldane was a great british entomologist who classified hundreds of species of beetles, perhaps the most widely varying form of life on earth. late in his career, he spoke to a group of churchgoers about his work. feeling metaphysical, they asked him to reflect on what science had taught him about the mind of God. “i’ve deduced,” he replied, “that God has an inordinate fondness for beetles.” which reminds me, of two things. one, i am not a great scientist although i think that would have been as thrilling in its way as being an artist. and two: i am also not god, although i would love to meet her some day, and if that ever happens, i will talk about my inordinate fondness for seedpods, and ask why they were made so beautiful and so strange.