i love this day of the year–the winter solstice. i love it because it is the darkest day of the year and there is something about settling in around a fire or a candlelit hearth on the shortest day of the year that is familial in an old fashioned way. i also love it because it is the darkest day of the year, and that means that every day for the next six months gets lighter and lighter. i am a glass half full person who can be ok if the glass is sometimes half empty.
languedoc solstice tree (salvia, fan palm, dogwood, rosemary, pepper tree berries, pepper tree leaves, dried sloe berries, clary sage, seeded eucalyptus, driftwood)
i inadvertently snapped this clary sage stem after i photographed it, and not surprisingly, a little puff of sage scent soon reached my nostrils. it reminded me of a book i just started reading called perfume by patrick suskind. the hero/villain of the book is a sort of human monster, born in 18th century paris, who decodes the entire world based on scent. he is a mozart-like prodigy in the realm of scent, and like mozart writing his first opera at age 12, this character begins before grade school to create new forms and combinations of scent, sometimes only in his head. i don’t know where the book is going although he has already killed a girl whose scent he was able to track on the wind, like a polar bear, from the other side of the seine, down several streets and an alleyway. it has been fascinating to read a book so steeped in smells, good and bad, and to realize how little smell is incorporated into so much writing.
clary sage flower stem in winter
order spilling into chaos
i was going for richly textured detail today, along with tonal harmony, but i think i spilled over into chaos. by the time i was done, the sun was low on the horizon and it was too late to start over. knowing when to stop is one of the hardest things for me when i am creating. i was aiming for something that would be on first glance engaging, but that would also reward the viewer upon closer and closer inspection. this doesn’t have an open enough structure to invite a closer look. instead, the busyness of the surface keep the eye at that level. oh well. it is pleasantly distracting, if maybe not quite layered and thought provoking. the good news. there’s another still blog image waiting to be made tomorrow. see you then.
dried bits of languedoc nature
the song remains the same
this is an old photo i took on a previous trip to the languedoc (where i am now). i took it out to remind me to make a new one for this trip–a composition of all the bits and pieces that most define this region. but as i studied this photo, i realized that i would pretty much recreate the exact same photo all over again. these are still the iconic bits for me. so, rather than reinvent the wheel, i (re)present to you the 15 iconic bits of my current home: 1) cypress cone, wine grapes, land snail, wild carrot, sea glass, wild blackberries, beach rock, teasel, wild thyme, olives, mediterranean sea shells, fig leaf, thistle, lunaria seed casing, wild fennel.
if you were to pick 15 bits of nature that define your home, what would you include?
15 bits and pieces of nature that define the languedoc for me
we are not doing holiday gifts this year. a semester in southern France has been our family present to each other. but if i were doing gifts, i think a lot of people would be getting beach rocks from sète. slow food. slow travel. slow fashion. slow parenting. let’s call this slow gifting.
bound beach rocks from sète. france