as we head into the coldest week of winter, this grass stem (with an assist from a sturdier twig and a vine) still looks ready to celebrate with leaves like party streamers. that is what i call a positive attitude. instead of hunching my shoulders against the cold and pulling my scarf up over my nose. perhaps i need to put on some lipstick and sunglasses and walk into the grocery store as if it’s 70 degrees outside. hell, why not? it’s a short walk from the car to entrance. i draw the line at wearing flip-flops however. the line between fun and foolish is blurry. or maybe that is just my glasses fogging up as i exhale into my scarf. shoulders back. head up. let’s go.
winter tall grass stem
back and forth, back and forth
i keep bouncing back and forth here between the deep winter subjects outside my door, and the out-of-season flowers and dried bits inside. am i giving any of you whiplash? vertigo? discordance? if so, i apologize. we are heading into a week of below-zero temps. (deg. F)…so i will likely be staying mostly inside after today. i have house plants to cut up, and dried autumn bits to play with, and a few stems hanging upside down from hooks in a spare bedroom. i did not consciously set out to make myself a winter cache. like the squirrel, i was acting out of instinct. we are simpler, i believe, than we want to accept.
white pine branch with frosted needles
same subject, different composition
yesterday’s tulips were photographed upright, with soft backlighting. today’s composition, same subject, is called a flat-lay. i use both techniques quite often. these two images (yesterday’s and today’s) are both good, i would say they are “on par”–meaning that one is not inherently better than the other. the colors of the tulip petals and stamen are probably truer in the flat-lay, but the backlit photo has more dimensionality (depth). also, look how the coloring of the stems varies in the two images. i shot these tulips both ways yesterday, and posted both images to instagram last night asking people which format they preferred. as i type, i have had 46 replies, and once again the votes are tied. half the people prefer the flat-lay, and half prefer the backlit. i am curious, do you have a preference?
p.s. my Garden Club of America talk this morning went off well. i stayed on time which was my biggest worry because once i get talking, i often lose track of time. for those of you from GCA joining us here today, for the first time…welcome! i am thrilled to have you here.
garden club of america
today, while most of you are reading this, i will be giving a virtual talk to the Garden Club of America. over 2000 people are signed up for the conference. so i am a little nervous, but mostly excited. i have given many talks on my STILL project over the past few years, but almost always the audience has been full of creatives. so i usually talk about the transformative power of dailiness for unlocking creativity. but, this time i am talking to gardeners. so i have shifted my emphasis to talk about how STILL has led me to a kind of intimate knowledge of place that used to used to be common to all indigenous cultures. in particular, i talk about my recent discovery of the ancient japanese calendar of 72-microseasons, and how i had independently come to a very similar understanding of my own bioregion, based on the natural unfolding of my immediate natural world: pussy willows beget catkins. catkins beget buds. buds beget spring ephemerals. spring flowers beget insect hatches. insect hatches beget migrating birds…so on and so on…everything unfolding throughout the year, always in the same order. it will be my first time presenting this material, so i hope i don’t get too tongue tied while i try to put into words all that i have learned. if you are reading this in in the morning, please send your thoughts/prayers/vibrations/intentions/well wished my way. i will need it.
ohhh, by the way…both dailiness and 72 microseasons will be essays in my book.
tulips from madeline
back to reality
late january in the north. time of dormancy and hunger for most critters. time of weary resignation for humans. most of my friends have fled or are fleeing to warmer climates. steve and i are both working on book deadlines. so we are here for the duration, putting in long solitary days on our manuscripts, and sitting beside the fire in the evenings. not a true hibernation, but close.
austrian pine branch tip with frost (Pinus nigra)