arthritic winter stems
so. i am 55. about 3 years ago i started having aching feet after my daily walks. i eventually went to the podiatrist who took an x-ray and told me i had arthritis. he showed me the picture of the two boney plates rubbing against each other. he said it was ordinary arthritis. age related. probably hereditary. nothing can slow its progress (not even good shoes), and that is only going in one direction. i didn’t particularly like that explanation, so last year i went to an orthopedic surgeon to get a second opinion. she said the same thing. but she also offered a short-term solution of injecting the degenerate joints with cortisol steroids to give me 3-6 months of temporary relief. i had the procedure done today. fingers-crossed that i will have many pain free spring, summer, and fall walks ahead of me for the remainder of the year. may i be as resilient as these brittle summer stems, standing tall at the very end of winter.
cup plant flowers in late winter
the most interesting
i took photos of this nest from several angles. this particular shot was not the most beautiful. but it was the most interesting. i am not sure what the thread-like material is that was used to cement the nest to the support branch. it looks to me as if it could be thistle hairs. which would mean it was most likely a goldfinch nest. a quick google search makes me pretty certain it is. the goldfinches are only weeks away from returning to our feeders. i wish i could convey to them how much i admire them as architects.
goldfinch (?) nest
enter title here . blah
sometimes i take my STILL blog photo for the day, and edit it, and post-process it, and then make dinner, and then start the fire, and then have three hours of conversation on the couch, while i and my husband give out head rubs and back rubs to our sixteen year old son, and by then it might be 10 o’clock in the evening, some evenings, at that point, i have forgotten that there is a STILL blog post to finalize, and i ask my husband to fill in. what he usually sees is a more or less interesting photo, with space to come up with a title, and space to come up with a description. i label these two elements, “enter title here,” and ” blah.” so hi. this is steve. and i entered a title. and i filled in “blah.” and this is what you get for still blog today. welcome behind the scenes, where the sausage gets made.
marsh grass in winter
the snow is melting. the magnolia buds are swelling. and it is the time of year when i start panicking because spring happens so fast here. although this year, spring appears to be arriving almost a whole month early. if indeed it has, it might mean that we will get a proper multi-month spring, and i will be able to capture some of it for STILL. typically in minnesota, spring lasts more or less one day, around may 5. then it’s immediately too hot, and summer is here. the other thing that happens this time of year, is that, after months of lamenting my drab and monochrome surroundings, i get suddenly very nostalgic for the austere winter stems of our northern prairies. the graphic and otherworldy shapes will soon be hidden by a thick profusion of green sameness. yeah. the weather here doesn’t give me a break. and in turn, i don’t give it a break.
winter stems, seed heads, and dried blossoms
if you can sign your name, say art teachers, you have the physical skills you need to draw. however, drawing isn’t just about the ability to make marks on paper. what you learn when you learn to draw is that drawing is an exercise in seeing. if you can stop the brain from building images of what it thinks it sees, and instead draw the shapes and shadows that the eye actually sees, then you are at the beginning of being able to draw. shutting off the thinking part of the brain is harder than it sounds. i’ve come to see STILL as a similar exercise in seeing. this palm fan is a good example. i was on my way into the local hardware store to buy lightbulbs this morning, and the planter by the front door was full of last summer’s plantings, slowly being exposed by the erosion of melting snow. if not for STILL, i would either have ignored the planter completely, or seen an undifferentiated, soggy mess waiting to be composted. instead, my STILL brain picked out an appealingly webby pattern in these soggy palm fronds, as they sat waiting to be pulled, tossed, and forgotten.
dried fan palm