columbine flowers appear to have adapted the length of their nectar spurs in fits and starts to adapt to the length of the tongues of their pollinators. when they are pollinated by hummingbirds, the spurs are one length and then when the pollinator switches to bumblebees or hawkmoths, the columbine quickly evolves and then reaches a period of evolutionary stasis as long as it is pollinated by the same animals. so evolution isn’t just a race. in some cases it’s also a kind of reaching for a comfortable niche.
the pleasures of dailyness part 938
in a recent interview with a local public television station i was asked whether i expect i will ever run out of material for STILL blog. i replied immediately without hesitation, “no.” because even if i photographed every plant and animal that could conceivably surround me, and even if then found two or three different ways of looking at each of those things, i would still have all of the one-time surprises that greet me on my daily walks. like this fern that that was either not quite unfurled completely, or that was a little bit dehydrated, so that its tips drooped in this magical way. in some ways, i could imagine just photographing ferns, or just the leaves of trees, or just found feathers, day after day, year after year, because everything is different every single day from how it was yesterday. if you only think of separate species it is possible to imagine reaching the end of new STILL blog subjects. but if you think of everything as constantly changing, then there is an endless source of images waiting to be discovered for an endless number of years.
fern with curled tips
a viral dichotomy
my instagram posts and my STILL blog posts rarely meet each other. i do that intentionally. they really serve two different purposes, and in an important way they are stories told in two different voices. here at STILL, i am trying to present my best daily work, and on instagram i am trying to tell a story about my life, and interact with a community. one is like a gallery. the other is like a text exchange. but yesterday i posted this photo on instagram (here), and the reaction was interesting enough to migrate over into the world of STILL blog. i actually posted a diptych of this photo next to the identical photo after i had intentionally jostled the white background, and broken the perfect outline of the central circle. i invited my instagram followers to pick one or the other, promising not to judge but hinting that there was something personally revealing about one choice vs. the other. as i’m writing this, almost 100 people have weighed in, maybe 4 times the usual number of commenters, and the night is still young. i’m certain that, buried somewhere in this flood of responses, is an insight into virality. but i don’t feel i’m any closer to understanding what makes something go viral. and really, in the end, i’m not actually chasing posts that go viral. i’m more interested in that sweet human urge to reach a hand out, to communicate, to make a connection, that lives behind each one of those responses. hey mary jo, these distant friends are saying, here’s this tiny part of who i am that i’d like to mingle with this part of who you are. thanks for sharing, they seem to say. and i think, you’re welcome. and thank you. and the ragged world is infinitessimally stitched back together.
brown and green nature bits assembled
creativity on demand
my assignment today was to create a STILL blog image from scratch while being filmed by a local public television station. at some point being creative on demand is about recognizing what you’re already good at and scaling back to those skills you know you have. spring foraging knowledge? check. finding colors that play well together? check. balancing a composition? check. awareness that circles are almost always interesting? check. from there it was like riding a bike . . . to the store. riding a bike to the store. it was not like riding a bike into the alps during the tour de france. but it was a very complete and satisfying ride to the store.
spring assemblage: jack-in-the-pulpit, ferns, apple blossoms, lilacs, day lilies leaves, violets, spruce tips, linden bracts, clovers, dandelions, wild geranium
happy birthday to me
today is my 54th birthday. i am spending the day on the “wrong” side of a camera–being filmed by our local public television stations, TPT, for a series they call MN Originals. i don’t have any explosive insights on my 54th birthday. my life feels a little bit like today’s photo, full of a lot of beautiful pieces, held in a messy kind of order that i enjoy looking at when i have the time to step back and take in this satisfying composition made up of imperfect pieces.
dried bits on my studio table