The skin of a tree must contain many stories, as does our own skin.
What did the weather do to this bark? What were the effects of rain, wind, dust? And what did animals do? Gnaw, tear, puncture, scratch?
The layers of this covering are more apparent, more available, than the layers of our skin. I can see the surface of my arms becoming crepe-like , the veins becoming more prominent, the hair density diminishing, the elasticity failing. (Sigh!) There’s also a softness, an aging softness like a return to new-baby-skin softness. The bark, on the other hand, seems to have become more textured, rather than less, over time.
Time paints us like reluctant models trying to escape the pose.
I do like black and white. This is the shadow on the sidewalk and it has its own power, perhaps almost as much as the substantive plant does.
Sometimes color distracts me and I choose to work my art in black and white or at least a monochromatic palette. Heading in that direction now. It is a good way to focus on form, texture, line, and composition in general. Exercise.
Well, it’s not just the lily. I loved the shadowy area in which these ungainly stalks with their pale bonnets grew in such quiet dignity.
I envy those with quiet dignity. Dignity seems beyond me. My impatience, my impulsiveness, my energy — it’s hard for me to contain them. I watch British dramas with wonder at everyone’s self-restraint. Of course, not quite everyone is restrained. But even the relatively unbridled characters appear more moderated in their outbursts than their American counterparts. The extreme emotions appear to be more deliberate and considered. Rashness doesn’t abound! The culprit in last night’s murder mystery was ridiculously calm and matter-of-fact about his sins. “Let’s not get too excited” must be delivered from childhood as a daily lesson. Ha! Wouldn’t have worked for me.
Back to the Botanic Garden today. Every visit yields different sights. These leaves were carpeting the hillside under the ironwood, whose bark was deeply ridged and most of whose fern-leaves were green — except for the fallen ones.
And today it smelled deliciously pungent and spicy. I don’t especially notice the scents each time, but they were demanding my attention this afternoon. It was hot and humid (relatively speaking; this is southern California, after all!) and the heaviness of the air may have magnified the effects.
These leaves look like autumn and were a visual exception among all the bright flowers, whose colors included deep pink, purple, magenta, lemony yellow, deep plum, white, red-orange, lavender, lilac, pale pink, deep gold, coral…perhaps some of those flowers will appear here in the blog — later.
End of September will find this an ocean blog again. I can’t wait. It’s been two months and I miss my beach walks. The bugs that love to bite me will have gone elsewhere by the end of September so that I can return.
Meanwhile, ponds are it. But they aren’t, quite. No tides, no wind, no beach, no weather, no waves, no surf, no sea breeze, no shells, no skitterers, no godwits. They do have nice lily pads and different insects, though, which don’t bite me!
This is my most recent experiment. I am playing with fabric and my sewing machine and hand stitching. I don’t know where it will go. I also played with two other — very different — materials today. I am giving myself permission to just “mess around” with no specific goal or desired outcome. It’s not easy. We are so product-oriented in our approach even to “play.” What happened, what did you find out, what was the result? Maybe I don’t know and maybe that’s okay.
This is a photo from a while ago. The strewing of the pink is appealing to me.
I just noticed that yesterday my photo was of a bark-looking quilt and the day before it was of bark itself. I like the bark-y stuff in this photo, too. Bark is an under-appreciated subject. I may do some bark-y art. I was inspired in my art quilt meeting this morning. It is good to see original work by creative people. There’s a lot of talent just aching to get out.
I think this quilt is amazing. The photo is from a book of quilts and the center page divide is distracting, but one can still see the texture and the deeply organic feel. Turns out I was in a workshop in Tennessee with Christi a few years back.
I worked on one of my pieces today on the sewing machine for two hours. Or, rather, I fought with my sewing machine for two hours. It wasn’t fun.
Then, this evening, I hand stitched for two hours. And it was fun. Speed isn’t everything. For sure.
I wish the world were only about orchids today. I want to escape. And to think, I’m safe. One always wonders how long, though. How long. It could be here. Any day, any time. It could be here. Paris is here.
What’s in there? Look at those white edges and patches. Black and white. Four of us at dinner still couldn’t solve the world’s problems, and there were varying opinions on whether they’d ever be solved.
Does everyone even WANT to solve the world’s problems? It’s pretty clear we don’t even agree on what the problems are. Time to escape to fiction. Fiction tonight!
I like this because it is out of focus and mysterious and the black third is oh-so-powerful. The depth is unclear, too. That is good.
I am interested in too many things to become an expert. I can’t just pick one. I want to do it all! Hence Dabble Babble. I went to another writing group today and we wrote and talked for two hours. I could have gone on all day. Babble.
I guess we just can’t stay away from the lath house at Balboa Park. We were in the park again today and feel drawn to the place. The colors and shapes really are astounding. And then we followed it up by going to the photo critique meeting.
I wish sleep weren’t necessary. I want to draw/sew/cook/read/think. How lovely.
At Balboa Park. Lotus bud, bloom, pods, leaves. All lotus, all the time.
But what I really would like to post is the scent of the neighbors’ dinners grilling. There’s nothing like the aroma of barbecue smoke — meaty, spicy, thick and deep. Ah well, maybe in a few generations there will be scent options for blogs. Hah!
Our visitors love gardens so we went to Balboa Park today. The lath house is always full of gorgeous splendor and today was no exception. Huntington Library/Gardens yesterday, Balboa Park today. Real treats.
I didn’t appreciate orchids until recently. They were just the weird, finicky flowers made famous (to me, anyway!) by Nero Wolfe, Rex Stout’s genius eccentric detective. I’ve come to appreciate their delicate other-worldly forms and exotic colors. I was given one as a gift shortly upon our arrival in San Diego, and have found that my habit of benign neglect has fairly good results for these quirky beauties. I have a growing collection and might even decide to learn how to feed them. Careful under-watering has been my only treatment so far.
Orchids! My brown thumb is turning slightly chartreuse!
It was hot — in the 90s. It was humid. And it was lovely.
I think I need some of these for my garden. So dramatic and delicious-looking. Shouldn’t you be able to eat them? A visual cross between an artichoke and a rose.
The Huntington needs at least a week. The library, the art collections, the grounds…and they are building a new visitors’ center. I wish it weren’t two hours away. But it made a great day trip for us and our guests.
I heard a reading of the first lines of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales in Middle English and realized I had lost two of the lines in the past 47 years. Now I will have to go find a copy online and re-memorize. Succulents and poetry, oh my!
This post was started last night but then the blog provider was unavailable, so here it is now.
This is a variation on the plant whose photo I posted last week. This looks more like a sea creature than a plant leaf/flower. Nature is amazing enough that we don’t need to invent sci-fi plants!
I wish all of us could look at nature and write blogs and be amazed and tell each other stories and dance each other dances. We have friends visiting today who are the good people who give me faith. Faith in what? In the future!
He is a retired schoolteacher and she is an accomplished cook, seamstress, painter, and landscape designer. They are thoughtful and joyful and I am pleased we are still friends after nearly forty years. Forty years!
Blessings abound. I will prepare a meal for us this evening as an offering to the present and the future, to the simplicity of an enduring friendship.
Another sunset over the beach. How privileged I am to see this and to take a photo of it with the amazing device that is encyclopedia, phone, camera, atlas, entertainment, TV, music player…and then I even get to write about it on another amazing device!
But the sunset itself is perhaps the most amazing, and we can, most of us, experience it if we wish. And it’s been there, available, for years and millennia and aeons. (Isn’t that a marvelous word, “aeons?!”)
It’s been hot and humid here, relatively speaking, and anywhere else you’d be hoping for rain. Not much of a chance of that here. And this (above) is what rain can do. Greenest of greens, wildflowers, thickly densely green trees and hills; you can almost chew on that green. Munch it up.
I miss those munchies until I see my ocean. It’s pretty good compensation. I do wish I could hear it at night, but we aren’t quite close enough unless the wind is just right. And then I’m not sure I truly hear it or just want to hear it so badly that I imagine I do. It’s out there.
I moved my cursor down the page and landed on this without looking, not knowing what it was.
And I like it. It’s just an image, but it’s *my* image. Random? Not really.
Families sometimes seem random to me. I mean, how much are we like each other and how much different? How did we end up with this very collection of relatives? We chose some of them, others just somehow end up there via other people’s choices.
We spent the day with cousins and “in-laws.” We were a motley yet connected collection. Our lives have been very distinctly unique — or not. We are all educated, well-off (more or less), urban-suburban, and share many memories and experiences. Or not. My cousin and I spent summers together for many years. His wife and I have spent perhaps a few days in each other’s company. His son? I’ve probably talked with for 4-5 hours total. His son’s fiancee? An hour. We have been at weddings and funerals and exchanged small talk, but so little of substance.
We went to visit my cousin’s brother’s (therefore *my* cousin’s) gravesite today. David was very much present and not-present. I’m neutral about cemeteries. I don’t think I need the gravesite to remember the life (and death), yet I can see how it serves as a–um–lodestone? A very intimate and meaningful time, spent with people known and these other family-people I hardly know. How strange.
It’s just a family, but it’s *my* family. Random? Not really.
Isn’t this deliciously confusing? Can hardly tell which way is up!
Reminds me of the law.
Our nephew, who has finished his second year of law school, is visiting over the weekend. We have had some mighty complex conversations about entities, equity (in the sense of “fairness”) and, ultimately, where madness lies.
Consider all the ways corporations AREN’T logically equivalent to people, yet are considered such under the law. And I can see that it is sometimes for very good reasons. But oh my, this notion leads us unto damnation, in my reasoned opinion. We could change this so that corporations would be considered legal entities with legal rights spelled out — without making them logically/legally equivalent to people. Last I heard, corporations don’t get married, have sex, die intestate…just idly naming a few ways they are different from people. But this is a long conversation. And there may be other ways to ease the problems that have resulted, it has been pointed out. We *will* have to do something eventually.
It’s so intricate and crispy and…bark-y? Also from the botanic garden.
My sister sent me a book on collage quilting, and I keep finding I’m drawn to the quilts that have earthy colors. Maybe we’re too inundated with deep or bright colors? My eyes need a rest? And it’s not that it’s fall or that I crave “fall colors” (whatever those may be) — I think it’s more that I’m needing the basic-ness of the monochromatic or nearly monochromatic. When the distraction of color is gone, we’re left with a richness of form, of dark/light, of texture.
Our social calendar is extremely full this week, but I look forward to spending some time with my fabric, my thread, and my imagination.
Wish I could remember what it is. A very very very big “flower” on a vine at the botanic garden.
How incredibly complex things are. Everywhere. Inside and out. We went to the San Diego County Fair today and the visual and auditory jumble was exhausting. After looking at the products of knitting, crocheting, lace-making, sewing, felting, beading, quilting, wood working, painting, and photography…we were overwhelmed by too-muchness. And in great disagreement with the judges in many cases. We ate heartily of delicious unhealthy food, walked ourselves sore, and had a grand time.