wow, it is really getting dark early. it’s catching me short. i typically shoot my STILL images for the day in the afternoon. but the last several days, 3:30 pm rolls around, and i haven’t made my photo for the day yet, and it already feels like most of my light is gone. well, it’s november 21st already, so only one more month until the light begins to return. these green leaves, products of summer sunlight, have been cluttering up (beautifying?) my studio table. i am feeling the need to make space for the new. i am preparing to do a big sweep and send everything back out into the woods. but i have to psych myself up for it, because every item on my specimen table was gathered at some point with both attention and intention. it takes me a few days to let go of all those good intentions. but i am up to the task–out with the old, in with the new. it’s time.
assorted dried leaves from summer
while the cat’s away..
my husband, the cat, told me the other day that i could not post this photo. i have no idea what he didn’t like about it. i think there had probably been too much christmassy imagery for him. he’s not much for holiday kitsch. but he is away in florida now. so this mouse is going to post it anyway. i like these sweet little compositions–i don’t think they feel kitschy at all. matter of fact, i think they will probably be the table decor for our holiday table this year. sorry honey. but you should know by now that you should never say never to a rebel.
white pine and crabapples and pinecones
my two boys (my husband and my 15 year old son) looked at the calendar last week and realized they both had this whole week off. an almost unheard of event in our house. with impulsive abandon and lightening speed they had lined up two fishing guides to do some flats fishing out of islamorada, florida. they invited me along, but i passed when i heard about repeated 4 am wake up times to get to airports and marinas on time. so, for the first me in a very long time i have a size-able chunk of time all to myself. it is quite possible that it may be as long as 20 years since i have had more than a day entirely to myself (our daughter eva is 20 years old). my plan is to go monastic. i am going to sleep until i am rested. i am going to eat healthfully, lightly, and consciously, i am going to read a lot, i am going to love up the puggle, i am going to get outside to walk, and i am going to make a still blog photo each day. that’s it. no shoulds, no parent drop-off ad pick-up, no soccer practice, no piano lessons, no socializing, no laundry, no dishes. just a sleep, eat, walk, read. i think i am going to like being a monk.
red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)
i love queen anne’s lace in any form but i especially like it when its seed heads have dried like this. partly it’s because the plant is a significant fixture in the landscapes of both of my current “homes,” of minnesota and the languedoc. partly because i love knowing that it is a form of wild carrot, and i can break its stem and smell carrots anytime i want to. but mostly it’s because i love the little marie antoinette hairdo that the seed heads tie themselves up into when they have dried. a hairdo both wild and civilized. like the plant itself.
dried queen anne’s lace
it’s the most worst, wonderful possible time, of the year.
my husband and i talk fairly often about our role as contemporary parents, and how it involves a new dimension that is unlike the parenting our parents did, and certainly the parenting our grandparents did. we are among the first generations of parents whose primary task it is to raise children in opposition to the prevailing culture, whereas parenting for all of he rest of human history has been a process of integrating children, through rites of passage, into the prevailing culture. christmas, for me, is one of the most egregious examples of this–a supposedly spiritual holiday fully given over to advertisements, hucksterism, and grasping materialism. and yet one of my core beliefs, as a natural rebel, is that the prevailing culture does not have to dictate anything, if it’s not something i want. and so we have adopted two traditions in our family–a christmas eve dinner at our house where anyone in the family is welcome, where we cook good food all day, and sometimes many people show up and sometimes nobody but the four of us shows up, but regardless of who shows up, we get to cook a good meal for dinner. and on christmas morning we build a fire and eat awful pillsbury orange rolls and open presents and stockings while the dog begs for food and we all drink too much coffee. it is a strange little ritual, cornered into expressing itself in a nerdy and unusual way by a mainstream we can’t help but find dysfunctional. it works. it will do. i’m looking forward to it. that’s enough.
misfit christmas tree