you are beautiful and strange
i’ve been taking pottery classes. and i made this porcelain vase last week. just kidding. i could spend my whole life at a potter’s wheel and never make anything as beautiful as this sea urchin made just by growing to adulthood, without a central brain, reacting to stimuli with tube feet that act like eyes. i will also never be as weird as a sea urchin.
green sea urchin exoskeleton
hey babe. you have an exquisite exoskeleton.
this will not be the last you will see of these spectacular little orbs of algorithmic beauty. i spent a glorious hour photographing them today, and ended up with at least six keepers. i won’t thrust all them on you at once. but, c’mon. talk dirty to me.
green sea urchins (strongylocentrotus droebachiensis)
coils and springs
i have always been fascinated by tendrils. it wasn’t until this century that scientists figured out how vines pull themselves up by their tendrils. they wind around the plant they are climbing, then the coil they have made contracts, and it pulls the vine up vertically, but it gets better than that, because at some point the tendril reverses direction and winds counterclockwise, so that the vine doesn’t pull the plant in a spiral. when they finally figured this out, scientists were able to invent a new type of spring with no net twist when it stretches and contracts. we just keep learning new things, and discovering how little we know.
teeny tiny vine tendril
when our kids were young we were desperate for good children’s books. there are so many, and yet so many terrible ones. among our very favorites were the books of calef brown, including “polka bats and octopus slacks,” and “flamingoes on the roof.” his verses were just exactly right–silly enough to make the kids laugh, sneaky wise enough to hold our overtaxed young parent attention. this photo reminds me of one of his poems, called “skeleton flowers.” i recommend finding the original. thank you calef, for a lot of bedtimes that were a lot less soul sucking than reading about big purple dinosaurs.
this is not a black and white photo
i can manipulate a photo to fall into almost any color palette. working with saturation and warmth and color filters, i can, to some extent, make the same photo look as if it was taken under an overcast winter sky and a warm summer night. not totally, but to a surprising extent, this is true, thanks to photoshop. but this one is not manipulated. these cones were exactly this frosty gray, as was the branch they were attached to. you can see, if you look closely, the lichen and the brown spots where the bark is worn away, show that this is in fact a color photo, not black and white. a fun friday headfake. hope you enjoyed being fooled for a few moments.
jack pine (pinus banksiana) pine cone