the curtain draws down

the curtain draws down

there’s no reason that the end of the year should cause any particular soul searching. if you’re not searching your soul all year long, a bit of cramming isn’t really going to do you much good between the night of 12/31 and the morning of 1/1. but i happen to have chosen a sort of fiscal year for STILL blog that more or less corresponds to the calendar year, and so i am faced each january with a decision about how the last year went, and how the new year should go. i feel that i probably didn’t do justice to my black backgrounds last year, although i was getting the hang of it by the end. i got behind on posting my collages, which did not in the end amount to my original goal of a collage a week. i spent a lot of uncompensated time serving as editor, first reader, and illustrator for my husband’s writing, and i did a lot of dishes and driving to soccer. on the other hand, i acted as a competent general contractor, project manager, and co-art-director on a major national photo shoot for better homes and gardens in our house, which was enhanced by a substantial rehab, the first in our 12 years of occupancy. i gave a well-received talk at the sea change conference in spring, and a creative mornings talk in the fall.  i watched a daughter find her feet at an elite university, and a son more or less gracefully navigate another year of the morass that is 21st century male adolescence. i saw interest increase for my images. i found a collaborator who could match my intensity and work ethic in liz gardner of bodega ltd. and, i’ll be damned if i didn’t create one new image every single day, without missing a single one, for another entire year, which now makes six years in a row, or 2,191 straight images. it’s hard for me to see the big picture sometimes, when my obligations are daily. but six years of still blog is something i will take to my grave. if you are what you do every day, then i am still blog, as much as i am anything else. thank you for being here with me.

dried lily blossom

  • Ginny says:

    And thank you for being there every single day, without fail, with images of peace and beauty, and words of reflection. Looking forward to 365 more of natural wonder as seen through the eyes of MJ, aka STILL…
    Oh, and a return to white b/g :-)

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  • gracias Mary Jo por un año de amor

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  • Dede Bliven says:

    Thank you so much Mary Jo for your artistic talents and your insightful missives. Each day begins with your blog and I see my world a littler clearer, with more understanding and humor! I think I will take a nap after reading about all of your accomplishments this year. I first need to check out Lisa’s blog.

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  • Candice says:

    And thank you for a daily dose of art in nature/nature in art.

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  • Tracey Martin says:

    Thank you for allowing me to spend a few quiet moments each day with your beautiful images, reflecting. It is my serenity. Looking forward to 2018.

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a good book

a good book

i am about halfway through the book “a gentleman in moscow,” and have been reminded, although i shouldn’t have needed the prompt, what a uniquely satisfying feeling it is to be part way through a very good book, knowing you are in good hands, and the author is both going to maintain your interest and not insult your intelligence. it’s a luxurious feeling. a movie is over too soon. a tv show too interruptive. a podcast too beholden to its format. a good novel could in theory go anywhere, at any length, and the author is up there on the high wire, making magic look natural.

northern white-cedar with (female) cones

  • Carol says:

    ❤️❤️❤️ Thank you for all of this beautiful work – cannot start the day without it

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  • Pauline van Eijle says:

    Thank you for your inspiration, both in images and words. And thank you for a year of black backgrounds, I thoroughly enjoyed all 365 of them.

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mask

mask

i see this as a cute sort of bunny face. our friend paul, who stopped by to give my boys some fly tying lessons today, sees this as a source of some soft fur and some stiff fur, which mingled together will make up the perfect dubbing for a bead-head hare’s ear nymph. a matter of perspective, i guess.

european hare ears (Lepus europaeus)

 

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empty

empty

winter has emptied this grape cluster, leaving behind its essential structure. i feel pleasantly emptied at the end of this year, profitably poor, energetically depleted, burstingly spare. ready for a very active hibernation.

wild grape vine in winter

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more or less straight

more or less straight

just finished a free-ranging discussion about the trials and temptations of high school and college students these days. i’ve concluded that my kids have bent a few rules, in a more or less healthy way, and generally reverted to the straight and narrow. #moreorlessproud

winter prairie stem

 

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