joyful chaos

joyful chaos

this photo was taken in late afternoon on a sunny day in direct sunlight. so the process of getting my background black means that the foreground is a little bit overlit and contrasty. but what the photo does (which is what i wanted it to do), is give a sense of the riotous diversity of growth in the middle of a wisconsin meadow around september 1. i love the sense of both competition and cooperation, of everything trying to express its individuality, and agreeing to be part of a whole. it’s a mini society, living in boisterous harmony. it’s america.

prairie wildflowers

river falls, wisconsin

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meadow

meadow

is there an english word with as many pleasant associations as “meadow?” this evening i walked through one, buzzing with the sounds of crickets, vibrating with the leaps of grasshoppers, sighing in the wind. i walked through milkweed and goldenrod and evening primrose and milk thistle and big bluestem and the queen anne’s lace you see in this photo. the boys were trout fishing nearby. my daughter eva was my creative director and assistant. i was almost frenetically happy.  i won’t impose on you the three months’ worth of images i collected, but prepare for some meadow photos in the days to come.

queen anne’s lace (daucus carota)

river falls, wisconsin

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aliens

aliens

this is about what happens when you think you know pretty much all of the nature that surrounds you in a place you’ve been observing for a decade, and then on the side of the road there is this garish, tentacled alien that you can’t believe you ever  could have overlooked, and yet which turns out to be a not uncommon roadside plant. nice to meet you, blue vervain. you are very strange.

Verbena hastata, Blue Vervain, Swamp Verbena

shoreview, minnesota

  • margaret says:

    Gosh. This is lovely. that BLUE that just pops against the green. Sometimes those weeds or swamp things are just as gorgeous as the cultivated flowers.

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  • margaret says:

    Oh, gosh. I love the pop of color. Sometimes the overlooked weeds or wildflowers are just as gorgeous as cultivated flowers.

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a certain contemplative distance

a certain contemplative distance

assume for a minute that rain is a misfortune. then let us invite misfortune bead up picturesquely on our exteriors, and fall harmlessly away.

raindrops on garden weeds

shoreview, minnesota

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awe

awe

at some point maybe a few hundred thousand years ago, some slightly strange humanoid stopped foraging for long enough to stack a few rocks into a careful tower. i think of him or her pausing for a minute and looking out from an elevated spot, where a new, not entirely translatable feeling came swarming suddenly and overwhelmingly out of the landscape, and this person’s response was to make something that said, “i was here, and i was a part of this.”  at least, that’s how i visualize it, when i think about goethe’s great statement: “the shudder of awe is humanity’s highest faculty.”

collected beach rocks

from beaches on lake superior and the mediterranean sea

  • Susan L. says:

    Oh, this makes me so happy!

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