point of view

i just re-encountered joseph albers this morning, on, of all things, a political blog. his theory is that color is not fixed, and not a wavelength, but a visual perception, full of relativity. in other words, an apple is not red. an apple just happens to be perceived as red, in the light spectrum in which we normally look at apples. but an apple, in different lighting, could be seen as almost any other color. similarly, the snowflake you see above is not a snowflake, but is in fact a balsam tree. or, in other words, the fixed cultural law of  conical-shaped christmas trees is entirely dependent on looking at christmas trees from the perspective of a sitting or standing human being. but to a human being on a ladder, christmas trees, especially after a fresh snowfall, look almost exactly like snowflakes.

balsam fir with snow (top down perspective)

saint paul, minnesota

  • margie says:

    this is my favorite thing to see walking or snowshoeing in the forest after a fresh snowfall. xx

  • Shanon Gass says:

    Or to me, it looks like a big plate of frosted cookies. :)


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left over

i’m writing this from a semiconscious perch on my usual desk chair, with a traditional thanksgiving meal in my belly, a load of dishes in the sink, a snubnosed dog in the bed, a healthy family in the other room, and thanks in my heart for all of the above. even the dishes.

found wild turkey primary wing feathers

shoreview, minnesota

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i have what i call my specimen table, which moves about the house depending on the season, and which holds the mostly accounted for, but not quite dismissed, sheaves of flora that i have harvested from the local landscape over the prior weeks, or sometimes, to my embarrassment, months. yesterday, just in time for thanksgiving, in need of some usable horizontal surface, i lifted an armful of vegetation from my specimen table, which has most recently resided in my kitchen, and just look at the gorgeous mess that got left behind. it is so much prettier than anything i could have arranged myself that i decided it deserved a thanksgiving day feature. may you all be burdened with love and plenty on this day full of thanks, whether compatriots celebrating thanksgiving day, or simpáticos simply feeling grateful for nature’s mystery and abundance.

specimens table november remnants

my kitchen, saint paul, minnesota

  • Rags Edward says:

    Sweet riotous Nature! Am I the only person to have noticed your little ant while scrolling through your site? Adorable. Really!


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punctuation and abbreviation

i was never very good at grammar. i don’t know what these exclamation points and commas and hyphens and periods are trying to tell me. i’ve tried stopping, starting, pausing and talking emphatically all evening. my family will be happy when i move on to my next post. i hope it has to do with math.

november stems and wasp paper dots

various shoreview trails, saint paul, minnesota

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a time to reap, a time to sow

spent the day thinking about rhythm, for some reason. how we are all being encouraged to try to live our lives in balance, but that balance is a weirdly static and unsustainable goal. how many people do you know who live their lives in perfect balance? i don’t know any. but i know a lot of happy people who live their lives according to the rhythms of the seasons, or the rhythms of the academic year, or the daily rhythm of sunrise and sunset. along those lines, i am as happy to be reacquainted with this straw colored november marsh grass as i will be happy to meet the next generation of new green marsh grass next spring.

marsh grass in snow

on the shore of turtle lake, shoreview, minnesota

  • Charo says:

    ¡Qué bella composición!

  • margie says:

    i love snow on just about anything but when it forms soft layers on grasses, undisturbed by wind , it sings to me


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