in between

i’ve been feeling a little like this cottonwood lately, hanging out there between earth and sky, between water and land, between fall and winter, between minnesota and france, between still blog and, well, whatever will come after still blog. i like the creative tension that comes with being somewhere in transition between certainties, but it’s tiring. i’m getting ready to be a fish, not a frog, an oak not a cottonwood, a blade of grass, not a reed. but not quite yet.

cottonwood tree branches hanging over a snow covered lake

sucker lake, saint paul, minnesota

  • Celia says:

    For some reason your post today reminded me of That Tree. You might enjoy the daily photos of a lonely bur oak. http://thattree.net

    reply
    • Hi Celia,
      I just went and checked it out. What an interesting project! Definitely a kindred spirit!
      Thank you for sharing it with me :-)
      Mary Jo

      reply
  • Celia says:

    You’re most welcome! Enjoy!

    reply
  • margie says:

    so much beautiful imagery

    reply
  • Sandy says:

    Does this mean you won’t be doing the STILL blog next year? Oh, I hope I’m wrong!

    reply
    • Hi Sandy,
      You are so sweet! Your comment put a smile on my face.
      Don’t worry, I will be doing STILL. Probably one more year.
      And then I don’t anticipate that I’ll be stopping so much as evolving it into something new.
      Thank you so much for your support and encouragement!
      xo Mary Jo

      reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

just when i thought i was stumped

i was already starting to feel that sinking sensation that all the interesting seasonal colors, whether flora or fauna, had either migrated south or been killed by the cold and snow, and that i might be stuck photographing twigs and stems until april. then a cooperative beaver felled a good sized aspen on one of my favorite walks, and i was reminded of all the beloved species who will spend these next few months here with me, rather than shooting their mouths off down in the gulf of mexico.

recently beaver-gnawed polar stump

sucker lake regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

knowing your place

my husband (@sjrhoffman) is writing a book about a place we love, a tiny village in southwest france, which prompts us to do a lot of talking. the interesting thing is that the more we talk about that mediterranean place we have fallen in love with, the more we end up talking about what it means to be from this other northern place where we were born, and which we also love. if i had to pick the three defining native objects from our village in languedoc france, i think they would include a chardon (thistle), an olive leaf, and a grape vine tendril. today, i tried to choose which three objects would define this minnesota home that i haven’t chosen so much as it has chosen me. as of today,  they are a cedar branch, birch bark, and woodpecker feathers. (i reserve the right to change my mind about any or all of these tomorrow.) what three things define your “place?”

cedar and cedar berries, woodpecker feather, birch bark

shoreview, minnesota

  • Yes, the olive leaf would define my place too, of course, as well as wild fennel, and thyme. But I’m sure you knew.
    PS : my place being not downtown Montpellier, for these references, of course. Otherwise that’d be : London planes, European nettle tree, and pigeons … ;-)

    reply
  • Holly says:

    Wow! What would it be here in Waco? The nandina and pecan trees are everywhere. And in this season, living, as we do, under a steel roof which happens to be under a huge red oak, I would have to say the acorn. They keep clattering out a darling din as we are reading our books.

    reply
  • Charo says:

    En mi region, La Mancha, tambien es olivos, viñedos y cardos, pero tambien es trigo y sobretodo sus bellas encinas

    reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

{blank} is in the details

i had an ex-coworker who loved to say “the devil’s in the details”.  i have always liked the expression, so i googled it just now, and learned that there are numerous variations:  god is in the details, excellence is in the details, design is in the details, a man’s life is in the details. all of which arrive at the same conclusion: the little things matter. each of the tiny dried flowers above, a little larger than a good-sized grain of sand, fed dozens of bees and wasps during its fierce, showy, self-involved little time in the spotlight.

winter weed detail

grass lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

  • Charo says:

    …Al fin la tristeza es la muerte lenta de las simples cosas… Chavela Vargas, las simples cosas

    reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

it’s all relative

my friend kristin joined me on my walk yesterday.  i arrived with clipper and basket in hand, and announced that we were snipping the tips of any interesting weeds or twigs as we walked. she’s a good friend, so she simply nodded, turned and started gathering as we walked and talked. it was a balmy zero degrees celsius, so our walk stretched out for longer than usual. we talked about STILL and about how the same trail is never the same two days in a row. by july standards, our trail was barren and spare. but by february standards, there was an almost suffocating abundance. despite the snow cover, all the grass and flower stems were still visible. and full of variety. by february all those stems will be buried beneath two feet of snow. and only the bare tree branches will be visible.  STILL has taught me many things. not the least of which is the relativity of abundance.

an abundance of december stems

grass lake trail, saint paul, minnesota

  • margie says:

    i really love this

    reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

"/> "/>