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.
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!
A smile relieves a heart that grieves. Remember what I said. –The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
So far this long weekend has been exactly what I needed. When I left work Thursday, I’d planned to take the four-day weekend seriously re: self-care and joy breaks. I had some “unfinished business,” so I worked till noon Friday and I haven’t thought about work since then.
I have been just as serious about my 10 days of joy.
Yesterday, I held my first full “brain dump” session in a long time and ended up with a three-page list of all the things that have been nipping at my soul. Now, I know that doesn’t sound very “joyful.” And it isn’t. In fact, without context, the list is sad, stressful, anxious, but the JOY is in how I felt after writing the list! I have been carrying too much stuff internally, and when I don’t deal with it or even take a moment to acknowledge it, all that soul-gunk spills out in not-so-nice ways. So…taking an hour or so Sunday morning to detoxify my soul was beneficial in many ways.
I’m not sure I would have been able to even approach that list if the guys and I hadn’t taken time out for creativity Saturday afternoon. We grabbed our cameras, headed downtown, donned our masks, and took a two-hour photo walk. The weather was perfect—cloudy, cool, and breezy.
I noted the typical street scenes—musicians playing, private conversations, storefronts, architecture, diners—but, because I am nearly obsessed with street art, the Clinton Row Colorwalk was my favorite joy moment of the walk!
Today’s poetic offering is not technically a poem, but the lines [below] from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet are written in verse form–specifically in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter). You remember that from high school English, right? The words, spoken by Juliet to Romeo, contain arguably the most famous “rose lines” ever written–though Gertrude Stein’s “a rose is a rose is a rose” offers stiff competition.
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father, and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself though, not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O! be some other name:
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
About the image: The roses above are from my mother’s garden. No matter what time of year we visit, the roses greet us. This photo was shot in mid-February on my iPhone, a couple of weeks before the CV madness. I’m grateful we made the trip when we did.
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness. –Mary Oliver, from “Snowy Night,” What Do We Know
I’m taking a very short break from grading because it’s time for #ThursdayTreeLove, and I can’t resist sharing one of the snow pics I snapped with my iPhone earlier this week. It’s a simple snapshot, but it captures a naked tree and our first snow of the season.
Snow is rare in the Deep South, so many of us get excited whenever it comes our way. In this photo, the snow had just begun to fall and the temperature hadn’t [yet] dropped enough for the snow to stick.
I do not like being cold, so I stood just outside my office building and videotaped the snow for a few seconds. [Video below]. It was so relaxing to take a break and watch the snow fall.
During my month [plus] of speaking in flowers, I encountered a lot of purple. I read somewhere that purple is rare in nature. My reality speaks otherwise. Here’s a slideshow of some of the purple I captured over the last couple of months.
I’ve had far too many words tangled inside my head and heart this year. The month-long meditation on flowers gave me permission to leave the [hard] words “unexpressed” and allow them to unravel and stretch naturally.
I have a summer of writing ahead of me, and having “soaked” for some time, the words are ready to flow.
Thanks to my friend Meli for allowing me a moment to “breathe” today and photograph the beautiful vase of flowers sitting on her desk. Hugs…
The tree blossoms have pretty much come and gone in these parts, so it’s nice that #ThursdayTreeLove gives us an opportunity to revisit the blossoms of early spring. Since we celebrated the Resurrection of Christ (Easter) a few days ago, I’m sharing my bunch of dogwood photos along with the “Legend of the Dogwood.”
There is a legend that at the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of the mighty oak tree and other forest trees.
So strong and firm was the wood that it was chosen as the timber for Jesus’ cross.
To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood.
While nailed upon it, Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said: “Because of your regret and pity for my suffering, never again shall the the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross.
Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals.
In the center of the outer edge of each petal will be the print of nails.
In the center of the flower, stained with blood, will be a crown of thorns so that all who see it will remember.”
Even though this is a cute story, keep in mind that there is no truth to this legend. Dogwoods do not grow naturally in Israel and would not have been used for the execution stake.
I shot the dogwood photos with my iPhone one cloudy day and with my “real” camera another [brighter] day. The first three shots in the posts are iPhone photos; the others are Canon photos. Although I’m impressed with the flexibility of the upgraded iPhone camera, it’s still no match for my Canon. 🙂
Little moments can have a feeling and a texture that is very real. –Ralph Fiennes
Sometimes, life gets so frenzied that I take rest and moments where and when I can. This is how I managed to capture the photos above.
While waiting for the grants officer at “my” university to finish with a client a couple of weeks ago, I took a few cleansing breaths. As I exhaled, I suddenly noticed the many colors and textures in her office suite. I wanted to touch everything. Instead, I let my eyes and phone [camera] do the work while my spirit eased into rest. [Click an image for a closer look].