just in time
i have been eyeing this tree all winter long. it overhangs the mississippi right where interstate I-94 crosses over the river. it’s probably the busiest stretch of freeway in all the twin cities. i’ve been wanting to photograph it against a white sky, but it’s a two-person job: one to drive the car, ever so slowly, on the shoulder of the freeway, with the hazard lights blinking, and the other to steal a photograph. today, with tax season done, and with what could be the last white sky day until november, i got my getaway driver back, and together we pulled off this heist.
cottonwood (?) tree with knobby branches
emergence from dormancy
steve and i have been playing hookey for two (short feeling) days, celebrating the end of tax season. meanwhile mother nature has been hard at work opening leaf buds. thank goodness someone is clocking in.
my husband just finished his tax season. each morning he would scatter handfuls of “cheep chirp” bird seed, and juncos, cardinals, blue jays, chipping sparrows, house finches, song sparrows, white-throated sparrows, and the russet beauties you see here–fox sparrows–congregated outside his window. he would call to me when his favorite cottontail rabbit showed up, and when the cooper’s hawk dive bombed the juncos, and when the coyote came streaking in from stage left to just miss making a lunch of a squirrel. it was a daily drama played out in real life through the TV screen of his office window. and meanwhile, almost unnoticed, he completed 700 tax returns, for his congregation of loving clients, seven per day. i hope the fox sparrows appreciated the spectacle they were witnessing on the other side of the glass.
these sturdy dried stems of native roadside sunflowers stand 8 feet tall. i think they were even taller when i brought them home, but i had to trim their stems to fit them in my house. i use them as year-round decoration in my home. you may have seen them, standing proud in the corner of my bedroom, in some of the magazine features in the past year. they are from an abundant wild roadside sunflower called jerusalem artichoke or sunchoke. they are one of those amazing midwestern plants that starts from zero in late april and will be 8 feet tall by late june. like the cattails. and the burdock. and mullein. and…i think you get the point. it’s fertile here. very very fertile.
Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem Artichoke)
happy tax day my fellow americans!
i don’t typically celebrate man-made holidays too much here on STILL blog. it’s not a rule, nor is it all that intentional. i guess STILL blog is simply where i come to contemplate the non-manmade for at least a moment of each day. but, today i make an exception. husband of the blog, steve, is a tax preparer. and today is the tax filing deadline for all americans. steve has been working 7 days a week since february and 16 hour days for the past few weeks. and the madness stops tonight. hip hip hooray it’s tax day! if you think of it, make a toast the hoffmans tonight at dinner. we survived another tax season. which means more time and attention for our creative work through the rest of the year. which we then get to share with you all. thank you for being on this journey with us. 💛
p.s. no, the lilacs are not blooming in minnesota yet. i went into my archive and pulled a previously unpublished photo. i’m so desperate for a little spring color, that i simply couldn’t bring myself to publish another winter twig bouquet or dried botanical assemblage.