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the sacred and the profane

in those discussions about what animal you’d be if you could choose, i always say i’d like to be reincarnated as a great blue heron. they hang around in shallow water near the beach, eat fish, and stare meditatively into the water, wrapped in their feathers like buddhist monks. it makes me sound very spiritual and evolved. but, truth be told, i’ve always wanted to be tall and leggy.

great blue heron wing

grass lake trail, shoreview, minnesota

comments
  1. margie says:

    if heron is your spirit animal : You love to explore various activities and dimensions of Earth life. (well that certainly fits)

  2. I can’t get over your amazing photos! I will remain your loyal reader, thanks for being such an inspiration!

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stay with me here…

so, today it arrived. it was snowing when i woke up, and it is still snowing as i type 12 hours later. they are saying 10 inches (25 cm) when it finally ends. i mention this only because STILL blog will soon look very different. winter is five months long in this part of the continent. so, for a few months now, STILL becomes very spare, very minimal with lots of grays and browns and blacks and whites. i personally love it. it’s my favorite aesthetic. but i wonder. are you with me?

aged and weathered branch

grass lake regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. This is beautiful!
    I’m with you on the minimalism and colours, looking forward to seeing your posts for the next five months.

  2. Akä says:

    Seuls les neutres et froids de l’hiver permettent aux verts tendres de renaître plus éclatants. Je suis au rendez-vous chaque jour.

  3. Charo says:

    Adoro la nieve y la fría luz de invierno. Es mi estación favorita, ¡creo que no tengo genes mediterráneos!

  4. Anne Field says:

    I’m with you. Cheers to the beauty of winter!

  5. Dede says:

    Thank you for every season and seeing the beauty of the present.

  6. Manisha says:

    Anything that brings out the beauty of Minnesota’s long winter season is good for me. Each year I start winter by embracing the season. I stopped complaining about winter years ago and now I find I like it for all that it has to offer.

  7. Jenn says:

    Yeah, baby, bring it on!

  8. margie says:

    i am definitely ready
    always am
    always will be

  9. Thank you all for your generosity and persistent love. You’ve given me new energy to take on the challenge of winter. Or, for those of you with teenagers: Wow. Much hug. So thanks. Wow. Such many love.

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spring teaser

this spring, my husband and i happened upon a trail loaded with wild asparagus. for two weeks we feasted on wild asparagus and morels, usually in form of omelets with eggs from our girls. we were giddy. i just walked that same trail again this afternoon, and all along my private garden, the understory was hazy with the greenish-gold plumage of asparagus ferns spangled with bright orange fruits. tomorrow ushers in our first snowstorm of the year, and soon everything will be buried in white. i was so grateful for my feathery green reminder today that hidden gifts await me next spring.

wild asparagus fern and berries

sucker lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. betsy caldwell says:

    <3

  2. LW says:

    it is a beautiful reminder!

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hunger

i have seen a lot of splayed, four-toed footprints the size of human hands stamped into the sandy shallows of turtle lake each summer. the wandering tracks always head in the same direction, which is wherever hunger is leading them. i wonder how many green frogs and stickleback minnows and baby bullheads went into the making of this ravenous beauty, before a second set of four-toed footprints, dropping down hungrily out of the woods and along the beach, finally crossed its path.

great blue heron (deceased)

lakeside, saint paul, minnesota

 

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  1. LW says:

    Eat or be eaten.

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carded wool

the first thing that came to mind when i saw this cattail fluff was carded wool, which i have no personal history with, but which ends up having a very offbeat personal connection. the word “carding”  means to comb the fibers of wool or cotton so they all align in the same direction before spinning into yarn or thread. carding comes from the latin word carduus, and, stay with me here, carduus means teasel, which is a wild thistle originally used to card or comb these fibers. the teasel is native to, among other places, southern france, where i picked one back in 2010 and took a close up picture of it against a white background, which remains one of my favorite images, and which, in many ways, was the very first seed from which still blog sprouted. the word thistle, in french, is “chardon,”  which clearly is a direct descendant of the word carduus, and that, my friends, is how the latin word for a mediterranean thistle, leads inexorably to a nature blog by a minnesota girl in the year 2014. Q.E.D.

november cattail

sucker lake regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. margie says:

    that fluff can make a wonderful warm stuffing alternative to pillow and comforters. I bet glimmer would approve .

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seasonal perspective

in august and september these wild highbush sunflowers are as abundant as june dandelions. they are so common that my eyes just wash over them, and i don’t even consider them for STILL. but suddenly on this chilly november morning, when the radio announcers had resumed using the term “wind chill,” this was one of the few stems that still had any petals remaining. in a field of brown stalks with nodding seed heads, this splash of yellow looked exotic and rare. and it was. timing is everything.

early november wild sunflower

picked from the boulevard in front of swede hollow cafe, saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. Charo says:

    Bellísima la textura de los pétalos. ¡La mosca quiere también sus cinco minutos de gloria!

  2. Driving with the top down

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shards of stained glass

the urban streets in front of my son’s school are littered with shards of broken stained glass. i hope no one sweeps it up for a while.

maple leaf

saint paul, minnesota

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elegant november

since starting STILL blog i have really come to love november. for itself. not wishing it were september, not yet wanting to jump to april.  with the leaves down, the woods open up and reveal long sightlines through the trunks of trees. the golds, russets, and browns are lit flatly by the gray, covered skies. november is cashmere sweaters and the white eye rings of whitetail bucks. november is paris–gray, muted, and elegant.

a wreath of early november finds

grass lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    what i love most about november is seeing the bright golden tamaracks against the grey sky

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silk sheets under a leaf coverlet

i sometimes watch our chickens waddle through hip-high piles of fallen leaves when i’ve thrown them some kitchen scraps, and somehow, without seeming to be looking, they will suddenly stab with their beaks and snap up a morsel of orange squash, or a red apple peel, that look just about exactly like the orange maple leaves and red oak leaves surrounding them. people talk about having eagle eyes or hawk eyes, but i think they should refer to chicken eyes with equal respect. in any case, i appear to have acquired a pair of chicken eyes when it comes to spotting objects in the woods. i can’t tell you why this giant silkworm cocoon stood out from among all the other clusters of brown leaves in the woods today. i certainly wasn’t looking for it. but i sure pounced, and snapped it up.

giant silkmoth cocoon (cecropias, polyphemus, or prometheas)

grass lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

 

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  1. Anne Field says:

    One of my favorites!! Beautiful!

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my heart bursts

i decided today, after an outpouring of love and support for yesterday’s image and for this whole quirky project of mine, that i needed to stop and just say thank you. i spent yesterday in a multi-subject conversation across several media with a community as meaningful and real as any i’ve participated in, virtual or not. i felt inspired and rewarded and included. so. stop. thank you.

unidentified early november leaves

grass lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

 

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  1. your images are exquisite…thank you for helping all of us to see the beauty in the simple…

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