this meandering white stripe is something i’ve done before, and i will probably keep doing it until beaches run out of white striped rocks, or until i can no longer bend over to gather them. i allowed myself to bring home one quart-sized ziploc bag of beach treasures from southern france, and these wanderers made the cut. they have been happily introduced to their sister collection of striped rocks from our summer stay in brittany 11 years ago. not all beaches have striped rocks. i count myself lucky to know two of them. you can count wealth with bank balances, and real estate holdings, or you can count the number of woodlots and beaches you know well enough to call friends.
striped beach rocks from sète, france
there are advantages to being married to a writer. i don’t ever have to come up with the wording on thank you cards. i just hand them to steve. i can call across the room to my personal human webster’s dictionary pretty much any time of day. i also received some spectacular love letters during our courtship. on the other hand, we have forbidden words in our house that can seem arbitrary. “lovely,” for instance, is banned. it has been sorely overused, apparently. as has the word, “stunning.” there are others. but the word i’m most strictly forbidden to use is the word, “dance.” not “dance” to describe an actual dance, but “dance” as a metaphor for something vaguely moving and eloquent that could be described more beautifully and more accurately, if my husband is to be believed, if i just took some more time to find a better turn of phrase. but of course i am a rule breaker by nature, not a rule follower, even when it comes to the language rules set down by my resident language expert and life partner. and so i am describing these flocked poplar leaves as a circular autumn dance. but i hope my husband will lighten up and forgive me in this instance, given that the dance i’m describing is the hokey-pokey. all of the leaves in this photo have put their left feet in, and are about to put their left feet out. soon they will put their right feet in. and presumably at some point they are going to shake it all about.
white polar leaves in winter
st. paul, minnesota
this stalk is sowing its wild oats. it is not a randy young man spreading his seed as far and wide as possible. it is not a heedless late teenager making a series of bad decisions. it is, in fact, a wild oat plant. and it is sowing. not unlike the young boy who sits on an ant nest and has living ants in his literal pants. or the lumberjack with a dull blade, who has, quite unmetaphorically, an axe to grind. i could go on.
my husband didn’t like this composition. he said it lacked intention. i said i intended it to look like the debris left behind after high tide. in other words, i intended it to look unintentional. he looked again, and gave the same verdict. i think he was intentionally misunderstanding. in the morning, when he asks if i might make him a cup of tea, i intend to go a little deaf.
mediterranean beach collections
it’s going to take some experimenting to figure out how best to photograph dark subjects on a black background. these first attempts feel a little clumsy to me, like finding my way through a dark house in the middle of the night. i know how to do this. i know where everything is. but i still take tentative steps, and reach out gropingly, in hopes of touching something familiar.
dried eucalyptus twig