#ThursdayTreeLove | Appreciating the Colors of Late Summer

Crepe Myrtle Duo

I couldn’t resist photographing the tree above as I walked to the science complex to meet with STEM leadership last Thursday. I also couldn’t resist transforming it to photo-art. 😀 I love how, as we are heading into the autumn season, the crepe myrtles are still holding on to color–not everywhere, of course, but certainly here in Northern Alabama. It was a little odd to see two earlier today sitting brightly next to a small oak which is already showing signs of autumn. Summer has been chaotic and far too busy. Though I am looking forward to the quieter, soul-settling days of autumn, I can appreciate the colors of the waning days of summer. 

In case you have been following along and wondering why I broke my posting streak (34 days!) leading to my blogiversary, Cy (the friend who challenged me) modified the challenge and decided I should reach a different milestone on my blogiversary. 🙂 More on that next week…Until then, be sure to make room in your heart for the trees!


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

NPM | #ThursdayTreeLove | Blues for the Babies

When I published Tuesday’s blog post, I was unaware of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. I have been burying my head in the sand because the recent news cycle has been far from heartening. I learned about the loss of 19 children and two teachers in an early morning meeting. I sat through the meeting sick to my stomach and overwhelmed with grief. 

I thought about the appropriateness of the poem I shared Tuesday—especially its title, “The World Is Wild.” Any world in which an 18-year-old, a child himself, can purchase an assault weapon is out of control. I wondered how I would have crafted that poem had I written it Tuesday; I wondered if I would have been able to find the words.

There are times when the words weigh so heavily in my spirit that no amount of lifting can bring them to the surface. This does not feel like a time for poetry. Or a time for song. The only thing I can feel is a slow, long, moan–a deep gut sound that vibrates and sways and rattles the grief out of the soft and hard to reach places.

Our country seems oriented toward violence. Far too often the targets are innocent individuals minding their business and living their lives. And worse, far too often the targets are children wide-eyed with wild wonder and little clue about the dangers that lurk in dark, dark hearts.

It is mind-numbing to know that children are taught to run and hide in case of an active shooter, that teachers who are trained to educate must also be prepared to protect students from gun violence and even take a bullet for the children they are trained to educate. Why is that?! Why do school buildings become a one-sided war zone for twisted souls with a vendetta and time to kill?

I have no words. I have only the admonition to hold your babies close and hold the individuals who have lost their babies and loved ones close in your heart. Including the family of the perpetrator. They are hurting and grieving too.

The words below are the closing lines of a blues poem I wrote during my sophomore year in college. They are appropriate for this moment.

from “Nobody Told You to Be a Fool”
Chandra Lynn (Age: 20)

Just go to sleep, honey; rock your precious child;
Just close your eyes and rock that tiny child—

Protect that baby’s innocence; find comfort in his smile.  


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

NPM | Musings from My Younger Self | The World is Wild

Walking Stick

It’s been far too long since I shared a “musing from my younger self,” so for this last full week of National Photography Month I will share some the words and wisdom of my teenage years with an appropriate, recent photo. The appropriate part is debatable.

Today, I’m sharing a poem I wrote just after I turned 17. My friend, Cy, calls it the prophetic poem. The photo above of a “giant stick bug” walking across the water seemed complementary.

The World Is Wild
Chandra Lynn (Age: 17)

The world is wild-
Men holding top positions
are on the ground,
biting the dust and busting
those who dry out the grass
and smoke it.

Dignity and courage
are part of the past.
Pride left and people fell.

People need chemicals
to erase the pain.
Money buys love.
To be further educated
one must have brains.

The world is wild.
The animals are loose,
and I am shut in.
Thank God!!!

I wish I could remember what prompted some of these youthful poems. I can remember clearly why I wrote some of them. For others, like this one, I draw a complete blank. Thanks to a couple of my students, I’m beginning to find the poems less cringey. They give insight into who I was and who I am.

NPM | Lilies and Abundance

Lilies1

Forgive me for interrupting our week of black and white with the rich color of my lilies. It’s only Wednesday, and I feel like I have been working 100 days straight with no break. Can we say ex-haust-ed?

I wonder how I’m going to get through the next day and a half without collapsing or screaming at everyone who crosses my path. Internally, I am having a tantrum. 

I need a walk. 

I need beauty. 

I need light. 

I can’t squeeze in a walk today, but there’s always time for beauty, especially when it’s just outside my [home] office.

My guys purchased and planted a bunch of lilies for Mother’s Day last year.  I observed as they transitioned from vibrancy to dormancy to…death. I watched in horror as the deep frost of winter decimated the “stick” that remained. They were gone forever. 

Then, just as suddenly, I witnessed their resurrection. 

Over the last few weeks, I watched not one, two, three or even four, but five beautiful plants grow with vigor and blossom with lilies! Five times more than the amount that was planted! 

There is certainly a lesson in there about resilience and revival, about faith and bounty. But the greatest lesson for me is that even in our coldest, darkest moments, there is always just enough hope to usher even the most broken of us into the warmth and light of an abundant life.

Lilies2

National Photography Month | May Flowers | The Iris Challenge

Iris-1 2022

I have had more than half a century of such happiness. A great deal of worry and sorrow, too, but never a worry or a sorrow that was not offset by a purple iris, a lark, a bluebird, or a dewy morning glory. –either Mary McLeod Bethune or The Adventures of The Woman Homesteader: The Life and Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart

Kudos to those of you who manage to capture irises beautifully. They are a bit of a challenge for me. A few days ago, I shot some with my iPhone and my Canon. I love the rich colors of the Canon shots, the composition of the phone shots. Which do you prefer?

iPhone:

iPhone Irises

Canon:

Canon Irises


*For some reason everywhere I look on the “innerwebs,” the quote above is attributed to Mary McLeod-Bethune. However, no site pointed me to when or where she spoke or wrote these words. I did find the quote in The Adventures of The Woman Homesteader: The Life and Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart in a letter dated May 16, 1933 to Josephine Harrison. Hopefully, I’ll have time to investigate soon.

National Photography Month | May Flowers | Petit Pink Roses

Petit Rose

It is now May . . . It is the month wherein Nature hath her fill of mirth, and the senses are filled with delights. I conclude, it is from the Heavens a grace, and to Earth a gladness. —Nicholas Breton

May is National Photography Month (NPM), so this month offers the perfect opportunity to unload the camera and share some of the shots that hide there. You’d be amazed how many photographs I manage to take in one week and how little of the beauty I encounter in my daily life makes it beyond the camera. 

Is there a magic tool that would allow the shot to go straight from camera to blog? No? Maybe, those of you who find the energy to post daily can show me your ways. For now, I’ll make life a easy for myself.

Since May is about the photograph, I’ll share a photo or two (or maybe, three) in wordless or nearly wordless posts. You’ll get a bit of eye candy, and I’ll get to focus all the wordy energy where I need to at the moment—in year-end reports, presentations, and scholarly writing. 

April showers certainly bring May flowers, so for the first few “blog days” of NPM, you’ll get some of the blooms that catch my eye this week. Today’s shot features “petit pink roses.” I snapped these yesterday in my friend Colleen’s garden, which explodes with color for more than half the year. I’ll be sure to posts more of her happy blooms soon!

Happy May!

#ThursdayTreeLove | When the Cherry Tree Blossoms

CherryBlossoms3

I recently took a walk to the building on campus furthest from my own academic home. As I walked, I wondered about the cherry blossom trees near my building. Since the weather is erratic this time of year, I worried that I would miss the short-lived season of blooms. To my right–a little off my path–stood an already-blooming tree, near an almost-completed building on campus.

Work trucks, building materials, and a fence–not the most glorious backdrop for this beauty.

It’s odd [to me] to find trees growing just outside a construction site, sites often prepared by unearthing their nearby friends.  But when the cherry blossom opens, it makes all the sense in the world that a little beauty was left behind. 


I usually join Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. I’m joining a week earlier for the final April post because next week is all about sunflowers and poetry.  If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

#ThursdayTreeLove | Speckled Glory

52Frames Week 14Have I been so busy that it has been almost two weeks since my last post? How did we even get to mid-April so quickly?

Whew!

I have been busy, but everything is bursting with color here in Northern Alabama, so I have been taking “small moments” to photograph color. Last week I focused on the dogwood because the trees have been exploding with those gorgeous white blossoms all over the city! Though I have many shots, I cannot resist sharing with you the photo I shared for last week’s 52Frames prompt–nature.

I’m sharing the photo au naturale. It sort of “misses the point” to tamper with the bloom for a “nature” challenge. So, you get the photo in all its speckled glory!

Even when petals have flaws, all you see is a beautiful flower —Adrianne Elizabeth


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.