staying power

golden alexander is like the quiet kid in the classroom who goes unnoticed for the first half of the year but becomes the teacher’s favorite by the end of second semester. it blooms without fanfare in late june along with a lot of other yellow flowers. but i know now, based on a lot of winter walks, that come february, those celebratory flower heads will still be holding their shape, and summer’s wallflower will be winter’s star pupil.

golden alexanders

saint paul, minnesota

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hidden meaning

i had no idea when i composed this photo that there were waves being formed by the white crescents at the tip of each feather.  i’m not sure what it means, but i love the pattern and i love that i didn’t see it until i looked at the photo as an audience, not as the photographer.

mallard duck wing feathers

saint paul, minnesota

  • margie says:

    that is extra special

    reply
  • Nicola says:

    Each of your beautiful images makes me feel calm,enlightened and peaceful. I often end my day with a look at your site x thank you
    I also have a fascination for the beauty in nature , often overlooked…
    So lovely xx

    reply
    • Thanks you so much! It is such a motivator to get such lovely comments.
      Mary Jo

      reply

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mixed greens

doing STILL blog has opened my eyes in many ways. not the least of which is that i no longer see summer as a monochromatic carpet of green. our home sits on a heavily wooded lot, with a long sloping yard down to a large cattail bed that eventually opens up onto a kidney shaped lake called turtle lake. in high summer, that long sloping yard turns into a dense tunnel of greenery. and the lake seems to disappear as if looking down the wrong end of a telescope. i used to curse all that greenery crowding out my lake view. but no longer.  now i see abundance, variety, texture. i see opportunity. STILL blog has helped me see differently

a spray of mid-june greens from my backyard

saint paul, minnesota

  • Margie says:

    Green=life

    reply

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the pieces that make a place

one of my favorite STILL blog posts was the giant assemblage i did of everything on our terrace table as we were leaving our rented house in southwest France. it summed up three and half months of being fully present and paying attention. it also commemorated a place i had fallen in love with. it occurred to me recently that i had not yet honored my own home in the same way. in minnesota, we sit on the dividing line between the boreal forests of the north, the deciduous forests of the center and southeast, and the prairies and farms of the southwest. i also love that anyone from wisconsin, or michigan, or manitoba, or ontario, anyone from the great lakes region, could look at this photo and say, hey, that looks like home.

all from minnesota

  • margie says:

    looks like home to me :)
    i would love a print of this
    might you be interested in some sort of trade xo

    reply
  • Jacqueline says:

    Our family are nature treasure collectors as well, and now I’m inspired to make an Ozark assemblage. Despite these things being from the Great Lakes Region I recognize many similarities to items here. I find your images so compelling, and am so glad you decided to share your creativity with the world!

    reply
    • Oh my goodness, I would love to see an Ozark assemblage! Please, please, please share :-)
      Mary Jo

      reply
  • janine says:

    this would sell well as a poster, here in northwestern Michigan (lower peninsula)

    reply
  • Kathleen says:

    Yup. Home. Beautiful.

    reply
  • Dianne says:

    I always find your photos inspiring, and your explanations so interesting. I must say though that I have difficulty with reading font so close in colour to the colour of the background.

    reply
    • Hi Diane-
      Yes, I agree about the font. When I designed the blog I wanted a very minimal experience for the viewer. With the image front-and-center and all supporting text not competing with the image. But as I have gotten more comfortable with the writing, I now agree it ti too hard to read. I am planning on a clean-up of the some of the blog pages in the next month. At that time, I will switch the text to black. Thank you for taking the time to comment!
      Mary Jo

      reply
  • Salope says:

    Ϲ’est clairement du plaisir de vous lire

    reply
    • C’est également un plaisir de lire votre commentaire.

      reply

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before the breeze

every now and then on one of my walks, i see so many STILL blog opportunities that the embarrassment of riches actually begins to shut me down. yesterday was one of those days.  i saw wild grape vines beginning to set tiny fruits, birch catkins puffed up like mini pineapples, mulberries just starting to take shape, bluebird eggs shells, wood duck egg shells, cottonwood fluff piling like snow.  it just didn’t stop.  so, i finally had to take a deep breath and pick one thing to carry home. i chose these prairie grass stems. they had just started to go to seed send pollen, and each head was dusted with seeds stamen that looked as if they would blow away at the first hint of a breeze.

rice creek regional trail

saint paul, minnesota

note: i learned this later from a botanist friend:   “This is orchard grass (dactylis glomerata) and it came to North America with the European colonialists. Now it is everywhere! The things hanging out from the head of the plan are actually stamens, the part that spreads the pollen. These, like all grasses, are wind pollinated, so they hang it all out and hope that at least some of the massive amounts of pollen that they spread will find its way to a female part on another orchardgrass.”

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