it would seem that a perfect candy crystal snowfall resting on the boughs of the trees along a gravel driveway, on a windless morning, would be an endless source of photographic material. but snow is elusive. and partial proof is here in this lightly frosted oak leaf, which is the only nugget of any value i managed to salvage from the gold mine of my front yard this morning.
snow on a winter white oak leaf
this leaf looks like a parched landscape where all of the channels and washes still show from times when the water flowed through it. i suppose it doesn’t just look like that. that’s sort of what it is.
heavily veined dried leaf
as beautiful as the symmetry and the progressive branching of this buckthorn sapling are, i can’t help but see the plant as the invader that it is in our part of the world. we have them all over the upper midwest, metastasizing throughout the undergrowth of almost every urban, suburban, and exurban woodland. and so instead of joyful arms thrown skyward, i see in the upper branches of this tree the little legs of cancer cells pulling themselves toxically into healthy tissue. happy tuesday.
winter buckthorn (Rhamnus)
what’s the point
i think the assumption is that this stem is meant to serve as a sort of delivery mechanism that presents the intricately petaled willow gall to the eye. but what if it were the other way around? what if the gall was merely the bulky shape that allowed us to appreciate the long, slenderness of the stem? maybe the stem is the star of the show.
minimalism and differential calculus
i was interviewed today by my graduate school alma mater, stanford university, for a feature that will come out next summer in their alumni magazine. i’m pretty thrilled about it, in part because our daughter, eva, is currently a sophomore at stanford, and i sort of love embarrassing her. i’m that kind of mom. my stanford degree is a masters of science in aeronautics and astronautics, aka aerospace engineering. a career i practiced with enthusiasm for 15 years, before i quit to raise children before it was too late. as the kids got older and more independent, i eventually started a quirky little daily creative practice for myself called STILL blog. one thing led to another, and here we are–six years into my one-year, minimalist creative challenge–and stanford thought that kind of mid-life transition was interesting enough to feature in their magazine. full circle. a very strange circle. but full.
dried clematis with seed pods