a kind of bow
if i look at it the right way, i can just see in the pattern of these dried wild iris stems a sort of chaotic bow, tying up a white wrapped present that i’m about to open. as you read this, i will be opening up that present. and the gift inside will be my very first view of the city of reykjavik, after half a lifetime of thinking about it. happy life-list day to me.
over-wintered wild iris leaves and flower
the downside of dailyness
tonight i leave for iceland. i will be there with two longtime friends, for a little less than a week, and traveling together is the way we three friends manage not to lose touch with each other. i’m not regretting the decision to go away. and i have always wanted to visit reykjavik, but it would be easier to pack and leave if i didn’t also have to create five days’ worth of STILL blog images ahead of time. my daily STILL blog routine is the heartbeat of this creative career that has brought so many gifts into my life, but this is one of the days that the routine feels more like doing the dishes than like reaching for the stars. the next few days will be full of STILL-blog-worthy images, combined with workmanlike text, and i will catch you all up when i am back home. bestu óskir og mikið ást. mary jo.
all day long these toads are trilling long monotone love songs in the cattails. around dusk they get a little tired and hand things off to the gray tree frogs, who sing rising, repetitious, burbling love songs until the wee hours, when they hand the baton off to the green frogs, who sing their melancholy plucked banjo string music until dawn. sometimes it keeps me awake. never do i complain.
baucis and philemon
there is a great story, a greek myth, about an old couple who are visited by the gods zeus and hermes, after the two gods have been rejected as unworthy strangers by the rest of the village. the elderly couple invites them in, serves them the best food they can muster, apologizes profusely for the humbleness of their home and offerings, and makes plans to slaughter their only goose as an act of hospitality and virtuous self-denial. the gods finally reveal themselves, refuse to allow the goose to be slaughtered, and warn the couple to flee the city, which the gods plan to destroy, along with all those who have turned them away. the couple asks only one favor: that when the time comes for one of them to die, the other will be taken too, so that neither of them ever has to live without the other. when their time comes, the gods turn the couple into an oak and a linden, whose branches intertwine forever. i love this story because it takes a moment to emphasize the almost holy importance of so humble an instinct as hospitality. and i love it because i would love to pick my time to die so that it corresponded with the death of my mate. i love it also because i would love to choose, with my husband, our eternal forms. and, finally, i would give anything to spend eternity as one of two stout intertwining trees. sigh. can you think of a better fate?
linden (tilia) leaf with spring bract and young fruit
backlighting, technique, and luck
it’s so hard to photograph white flowers on a white background, that when it works, i simply have to share. i’ve found that backlighting helps a lot, but the whites around the edges can still get blown out. so a successful shot needs the right light, the right photoshop technique, and, to be honest, just a little bit of luck. today it all came together. anne lamott once said that the three essential prayers are “help,” “thanks,” and “wow.” i believe i said all three today.
white peony flower