I haven’t left my home to photograph since I returned to Michigan from our winter home in Florida. Even in Florida the only outing with camera after the middle of March was into the western edge of the Everglades, to Everglade City and Chokoloskee . There is a disconnect in my psyche. I love taking photos during the northern spring, when nature is sprouting soft greens, the tulips and daffodils are blooming (deer ate my tulips again this year, but not until after they had bloomed for a day or two.) There are flowering fruit trees around the neighborhood so there is no reason for not taking the camera out. But I don’t.
Instead I’m wandering through my photo files, looking for “delicate colors” for this week’s Lens-Artist challenge. What a perfect prompt because I need delicate as I watch news of the covid hot-spots across the country, see parts of the country open up and people flock to close places without masks, and ache with hurt and am enraged along with all the protesters over the latest deaths of Afro-Americans at the hands of police. What in the hell is going on when people don’t recognize that their racism is not okay? What in the hell is going on that people aren’t willing to sacrifice a drink in a bar for the well-being of others? What in the hell is going on when the president of the U.S. is too macho and too insensitive to wear a mask? What in the hell is going on when meat packing companies (and Amazon) put profits above human lives? What in the hell is going on when governments are hiding the number of nursing home and prison deaths instead of providing adequate help? What in the hell is going on when the president of the U.S. tweets damaging and inciting lies (with absolutely no factual basis) about a TV personality he is having an ongoing feud with and there are no consequences for him?
I should say “sorry” for my rant, but that felt so good – you can see why I need delicate colors in my life. Life is just f***ing crazy in 2020. Take another deep breath, Pat. And another.
Jim and I are making our moments of joy even as I feel battered by the social chaos. Yesterday we picked up a take-out from one of our favorite place to eat, the Cascade Manor House. Normally they only host private dinner events and wonderful public buffets on special days but are now providing take-out dinners on Thursdays. Last night they served honey roasted ham, glazed carrots, and their special corn casserole. We parked in their upper lot, between the golf course and the skating pond in the Cascades park. No, we don’t eat out of styrofoam boxes with plastic forks. I take real plates and silverware. Next week they are serving up turkey and dressing. Maybe I’ll take a quilt and sit on the lawn for our picnic. Or take folding chairs and sit in the gazebo. Maybe I’ll even grab a couple of cloth napkins as I pack for our outing.
Have you found ways to bring joy and gentle to your lives?
Meeting the morning sun in my Michigan garden.
I have always loved mornings and this prompt of photographs that illuminate the meaning of morning was a wonderful opportunity to go through files to find the photos taken in the morning that elicit the newness I feel with each rising of the sun.
The calm and beautiful gentle color of an early morning on water – as I enjoy a mug of coffee.
…and watching the sun shift its focus on a lily pond in southern Florida.
Watching a Monarch gather morning nectar from a fall Autumn Joy sedum,
and the freshness of morning surf meeting the long shadows of the morning sun on a Gulf of Mexico beach.
You can participate by checking out this week’s challenge here.
My mood is foul this morning so I went to the files of photos taken at the Naples Botanical Garden through the middle of March when the garden closed to visitors. I thought I would post something cheery. Maybe I’m assuming everyone else is as grumpy as I am, or maybe I am hoping I can cheer myself up in the process.
The first photo in the file of my last visit is the one above. I remember taking it as the early morning sun was reflecting off the ripples on the water’s surface, making stripes on the foliage of some water iris. The solitude of the early morning garden, the poetry of a quiet breeze punctuated by bird calls, the cool air with a promise of warm sun are captured in this somewhat messy still-life, a reflection of a somewhat messy real-life. This photo was a strong contender – it reflected calm and peace.
I thought of using a photo of the water iris, but went right by them – they just seemed too cheery for this morning. Besides the front leaves were out of focus and this grated on my nerves – so I looked in an earlier file for some photos that I knew were technically better. They were nicely done but still too cheery, so none made the cut.
I quickly scrolled through the other photos, but none emitted the emotions I wanted to share with you… until I reached the last one. I lingered on this image, the same way I did when I first downloaded it. It exudes a sense of grace and beauty. There is a natural beauty to this orchid that I couldn’t improve with post-processing. As my eye travels around the composition it brings me a sense of peace and well-being, almost making my grumpiness fade into the background (if you look closely you can see it in the upper, left-hand corner).
Deciding which one to use is really difficult. I guess I’ll get a glass of water, take my morning pills, and finish up the masks I’m sewing.
Please stay safe and stay well.
I didn’t think I had many red flowers from the Naples Botanical Garden but as a went through my files I found a few. I really liked these, although red flowers usually aren’t my favorite and the are generally had to photograph in the harsh southwest Florida sun. There have been many that I took and then deleted because they turned out flat or had highlights that couldn’t be corrected.
I wasn’t able to label all of them because frequently I can’t get to tags and there isn’t a sign to be photographed for later reference. If you know what they are please let us know in the comments.
Torch Ginger (Etlingera)
Red Shrimp Plant (Ruellia Cartacea)
This post is brought to you in response to Nancy Merrill’s prompt of “red“.
I am very familiar with the house plant varieties under the species of Crassula, and also know that house plants grow outdoors here in southern Florida. But this is a vine that is grown in two different locations in the Naples Botanical Garden, one with full sun and one that seems to be more shaded, and doesn’t seem to resemble the jade plants I’m familiar with.
What I do know is that it is very unique. What is pictured above is a mature blossom – new blossoms are a fairly uniform color of aqua that doesn’t seem natural to me.
The first photo was taken on the boardwalk entrance, I had walked past it several time in January – each time marveling at its unique color. This week it was a “wow.” I lingered a long time taking photos from different perspectives and making sure the color in the view finder was true to the plant.
This seems to be a wonder of nature. Please let us know in the comments if you know where else it grows and other information. I’ll see if I can find someone at the garden who can give me more information.