my parents blew around the upper midwest when i was young, from saint paul mn, to eau claire wi, to roseville mn to omaha ne, and back to shoreview mn, where they came to rest, and threw down roots in the place i mostly remember as home. but for a brief time, before i was born, my dad was offered a position in northern california. he and my mom swirled out to sausalito, hovered for a couple of days as they thought about buying a place there, and then caught a strong easterly gust back to minnesota, where they decided they would make their life, among extended family and old friends. some days i want to go back in time, to sausalito, where my folks are looking at cottages and talking about the future, and i want to calm the blustery coastal breeze, and give them a few more days to really think it through.
saint paul, minnesota
i love that the two flowers in the front row are gossiping and joking while the elder flower head in back is trying so hard to be pious and well behaved. i’m sorry. try as you might, you can’t turn me into the flower in back. i will always be one of the two in front, seeing how far i can push the rules, without getting punished too badly.
oh and BTW: happy solstice!
nodding musk thistles (Carduus nutans)
yesterday i was talking to some friends about rescue dogs. how i try to find places where i can walk our dog off leash, and how there is an etiquette about calling up to approaching walkers to reassure them your dog is friendly and ask if they are ok with a little butt sniffing. the second most common response i get, after “yup, he’s fine,” is, “sorry, he’s a rescue dog, we don’t know how he’ll react.” i was griping about this a little bit, in the way you do when life sends you a small inconvenience and you want to turn it into something bigger, just because you’re in the mood to complain. several hours later, my mom was on her way over for dinner. i had been working all day, and suddenly found myself without a still blog photo at the point when the evening light was just getting a little too low to make a good image. as i was working through my options, none of them particularly good, my mom pulled up for dinner with a fistfull of clematis flowers. “I thought these would look good against your black backgrounds, honey,” she said, as she got out of her car. i guess we all need a little rescuing now and then.
clematis flowers and buds
our eva is back from college. her eye for pattern, color, and composition is extraordinary, and has only gotten better over the course of her freshman year. you may not be quite as happy as i am to have her back in our house, but you should know that still blog will be more interesting for a while, with her as my assistant.
bits and pieces of nature
here’s a photo similar to some i’ve taken before on a white background. i haven’t entirely mastered the black background yet, but in this case, it is clearly superior. there’s no way a white background could show how the base of this great horned owl feather dissolves into the ragged silver hairs that both insulate this northern species, and muffle the sound its wings make as it hushes through the air in pursuit of something completely unsuspecting. no sound of whistling or wind, as the air spills from between those downy little filaments. i have had an owl fly right over my head, and if i hadn’t noticed it’s huge bulk, i might have been like so many of its meals–oblivious until it was too late.
great horned owl feather (Bubo virginianus)
rice creek regional trail, lino lakes, minnesota