expectations and contentment
i stood in the garage looking out at the rain, scanning for a STILL blog subject and sweating in the humid july heat. i wanted to capture some element of the dense foliage, dripping with moisture, that is normally associated with the american southeast, but which minnesota, paradoxically, can produce in the midst of its incredibly lush and productive summer growing season. my ambitions were thwarted by the interference of the rain, and by a landscape i have seen so many times that it is difficult to see it anew. in the end, I decided to give up my grander ambitions and photograph this little common bindweed growing out of the crack in the driveway skirt. as so often happens when i simply lower my expectations, i was pleasantly surprised with the result.
i’m writing this at close to midnight after swearing, around dinnertime, that this would finally be an early night to bed. and then what should happen, but we come into the house after a soccer game, and the dog doesn’t come to greet us. there is just some whimpering from the bedroom, where he is sitting upright on the bed, not moving very well, and unnaturally stiff. so what do you do at 7:00 on a friday night after your regular animal clinic has already closed? you go to the emergency vet, of course, where the wait is three hours to see a doctor. you then call around and find out that it’s three hours to see all the other emergency doctors in town as well, and so you sit in uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room, with a dog who is panting and whimpering in pain and distress, and after x-rays and an examination, you get back home around 10:30 pm just in time to give the dog a muscle relaxant and an anti-inflammatory, post still blog, and make a nest in your bed for your furry convalescent, who hasn’t lain down for over five hours and is exhausted from pain, stress, and worry. tomorrow night. tomorrow night we are totally going to bed early…
pagoda dogwood tree leaves and fruit
saint paul, minnesota
i know that hygge has become an overused concept in a surprisingly short time. from an obscure and enchanting word born of the need to nest with family during long danish winters, it has turned into something that books are written about, and shop and websites can market. but there is still something about lighting a few candles at the end of the day. and turning down the electric lights, and settling into a couch near a fire, and talking among family. if that’s painfully fashionable all of a sudden, well, call me trendy.
turtle lake, shoreview, minnesota
we have been thinking about northern food lately, as part of an assignment steve is working on for a magazine. we are concluding that you value what is scarce, and what is scarce in the north is sunlight. so that most of what we think of as typical of northern food involves the various ways we harvest summer sunlight (in the form of vegetables and berries,) and preserve it (in the form of pickling, drying, fermenting, and smoking). there’s still a little bit of sunlight left in these dried giant sunflower stalks, but if they remember summer at all, it is a distant fading thing, like trying to remember your kindergarten teacher’s name.
giant sunflower (heliatnus giganeus)
rice creek trails, shoreview, mn
virginia creeper acts like its name, moving along the floor of our woods, and finding its way up the sides of buildings and up the trunks of trees. this one is working its way up the oak tree in our woods, mostly unnoticed in our dense woods. but come fall, its bright red fall color can’t be missed.
virginia creeper vine
saint paul, minnesota