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all of ocotober in a single leaf

this maple leaf appears as conflicted about the onset of fall as i am. wait, it’s still sort of summer. wait, no it’s not. well, ok, it’s sort of in-between. sure but look at how low the sun is. yeah but it just hit seventy degrees today. well, you know that won’t last for long. true, but the grass is still green. granted, but the cattails are brown. well, how about the fishermen still out on the lake. yes, but listen to all those leaf blowers on the wind. oh, fine. you win.

maple leaf in october

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    i love its curls and ripples

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rue the day

we knew this day would come. you can’t decide to raise six chickens quasi-free-range among 30 acres of northern hardwoods full of coyotes, raccoons, eagles, hawks, owls, ospreys, weasels and foxes, and expect everybody to just get along indefinitely. in fact it is a wonder that all six of our girls lasted through a year and a half of bossy and entitled quasi-freedom. rue was not the bossiest, or the most entitled (glimmer wins both of those awards), but she was the least containable. she always found her way out of every pen, cage, and run, and we would find her most days ambling past steve’s home office window, or scratching for bugs with her fluffy butt in the air some hundred yards up into the woods, or wandering through the open front door and pecking crumbs from the kitchen floor, while her sisters searched in vain for a way out of their chicken wire enclosure. so it makes sense that when the fox came for a visit, he would run into rue first. we found her lying very still and peaceful right next to where steve chased the fox off, after he released glimmer, his second intended victim, from between his jaws and let her sprint back toward the house only a few scratches and puncture wounds the worse for her experience. but it was too late for rue, and we will miss her.

feathers from rue, our golden buff chicken

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. Allways exciting and amazing to have a look on your pics and read the words…, and still. Thanks. Ghislana

  2. Carol Sommers says:

    Very sad but beautiful

  3. Tracy Klinesteker says:

    R.I.P.

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different stripes

when i traveled through europe in college in the 1980s, president reagan was not popular on that side of the atlantic. it was common to sew a canadian flag on our backpacks in order to avoid trouble. i also happened to be dating a canadian hockey player at the time. then when my husband and i went on our honeymoon, we drove up the saint lawrence and stayed in quebec city. these maple leaves have me wondering if i’m not just a little bit canadian.

maple leaves in mid-october

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. Ellen says:

    This is the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving.

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intentionally random

i once heard a great story from john dolan, the photographer who shot my martha stewart feature. he was talking about a creative director who always advised styiling a photograph meticulously, and then actually physically shaking up the elements of the photograph so that they landed just slightly randomly and disarranged. in the case of these stems, i had them beautifully woven into a grid, and then they fell onto the kitchen floor into this accidentally random pattern, which was, of course, much more interesting than my meticulous weaving. art by accident. i’ll take it.

seed head fronds of an unidentified common weed

rice creek regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

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  1. betsy caldwell says:

    Love that! You are right you know. Much better. I paint and I am constantly looking for approval, when I really need to just do the work, and not worry too much about the response of others. Seems simple. SOOOO hard for me. Thanks for being willing to share your process!

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one hour

it’s easy to think of the northern climate as full of a limited and sterile beauty: the circumpolar greens, blacks, and whites of alaska, canada, scandinavia, greenland, and siberia. minnesota partakes more of that boreal north than the temperate middle, much less the tropical south, but in an hour on a fall day, here’s what i was able to gather without really much effort: oak, maple, willow, aspen, sumac, birch, elm, and virginia creeper, in green, yellow, orange, red, tan, brown, and gray. i wonder what would have happened if i’d taken a two hour walk.

leaves from one october walk

grass lake trail, shoreview, minnesota

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  1. such diversity !
    Another stunning photo, Mary-Jo !
    xo

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synapse

i was interviewed recently by a young french woman doing her work on a thesis called Synapse, which focuses on climate in a way intended to inspire artists, artisans and designers. she asked me about a dozen remarkably thoughtful questions. you can read the whole interview here. one of the questions she asked was whether i was witnessing climate change firsthand since beginning STILL blog. i told her the unfortunate truth, which is that i feel i am witnessing, through the dailiness of STILL blog, the earlier springs and later winters of a global and epochal phenomenon.

staghorn sumac leaves in october

saint paul, minnesota

 

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black and white on white

those who grow up north of the 45th parallel have a special place in their hearts for birch trees. their white trunks stand out so sharply against a curtain of evergreens, or a deep blue lake, or a steel gray sky.

paper birch tree trunks

saint paul, minnesota

 

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  1. Tracy Klinesteker says:

    There is something about birch trees. Raised in So Cal, my father was gardner supreme and kept a small group of birch trees in our yard. I loved them as a child. Their beautiful texture, so clean and neat. We used to get in terrible trouble because we used to peel the paper bark off. Dad would have a fit if he caught us! They represent to me clean, fresh, mountain air. In your photo, you’ve caught their beautiful texture and stateliness.

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the blade and the chalice

i originally photographed this triangle with the point facing up, and i realized that i don’t do many triangle shapes, but i do lots and lots of circles. the triangle shape felt aggressive and slightly in-your-face in its energy. i even talked to my husband about it tonight on the couch. then, just before i posted the photo, i read a little bit about the symbology of triangles, and was reminded (anyone who has read the da vinci code will understand) that the triangle represents the blade, which is the shape of a rudimentary phallus and has a male energy, whereas the upside down triangle represents the chalice, which represents the womb, and has a female energy. don’t ask me why this feels true even on an aesthetic, emotional, and almost quantum energy level. but it does.

bits and pieces from my early october desk

saint paul, minnesota

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  1. margie says:

    it also means deep grounding energy

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should i stay or should i go now?

the greens are battling the yellows this fall, and it currently looks like anyone’s game, although, as always, the fix is in.

mountain ash frond in october

saint paul, minnesota

comments
  1. margie says:

    i love the transition

  2. Transitions are nice & always very special.
    Awesome branch, photo & title !
    xoxo

  3. LW says:

    i love the green any day of year, but i must say that yellow does look especially beautiful against that green.

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out of place

i have tried to minimize buying clothes and home accessories when i travel, because when i get back home, the colors never look right. we minnesotans generally head toward warmer climates when we travel, and warm climates tend to feature vibrant colors that don’t get washed out in bright sunlight. but back in minnesota, those tropical/citrusy/saturated colors look like garish neon signs against our cool-toned northern elements. take these zinnias that i picked today. they suddenly look so out of place in a minnesota blog, and now it makes sense, because i just read in wiki that they are native to the southwest united states and mexico. of course they are. i really didn’t need wiki to tell me that.

ocotber zinnias

minneapolis, minnesota

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  1. LW says:

    such a beautiful palette it’s hard to resist!

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