Friday, April 30, 2010

Oh, the Glass!

Shot glasses?

Who'd a thunk I'd have shot glass envy.

But I do.Primary colors swirl and whirl, bleed and spin like a Kate Bush track from Aerial.
Oh, the glass!
I want one.

I want them all.

So beautiful, like liquid light.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


My first great-niece, a kindergartner, loves book magic: stories, characters, settings, covers, print, even paper and ink. She's a genuine bookworm, whose appetite has been fueled by her nightly book time with her mother.

Now the first of four "greats" to read and write on her own, without prompting, she sent this postcard to me, another book lover in the family. The words, lovely as they are, shine nowhere near as brightly as the writer who made them.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Near Miss

On Saturday, Gay wrote, "WOW! . . . BIG THUNDER!!!"

We had some, too, in North Carolina.

But I wasn't really prepared for this: a near miss.
Six inches more and the deck as well the flower pot would have been a goner.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Nothing Special

Doing nothing with people I love counts for more
than doing something special with anyone else.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wildflower Hike with My Family

Moore Cove offers a perfect trail to a beautiful waterfall through streams and wildflowers, with plenty of opportunity for my great-nephew to prove his mettle. "Here's one!" he'd shout, and I'd trot up to snap it. I asked him to keep out an eagle eye for the deep red trillium, and he did. Together, we spotted a jack in the pulpit, and he held up the petal for me to snap away. Like his mother, he loves flowers, and like all little boys, he loves to throw things, even encouraging his little sister to do the same.

Walking with children and their mother whom I love is a lovely way to spend an April afternoon.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


On February 15, I posted my photo of a barberry encased in ice to Facebook.
My former student Felice responded: "awesome! i want to replicate in glass! the starry crystal is awesome. like a little pixie fairy. it makes it a little avant garde. what is it? it looks like rock candy eating a red lightbullb. i'm assuming it's a berry. i also love the red at the very tip. i could stare at this for a long time and have so many interpretations. you rock, dr. h."

On April 24, during a quick trip to visit my niece and family in North Carolina, I stopped for the afternoon and night in Asheville, where I visited old friends, another former student and her fiance, and took in Felice's trunk show.

She gifted me with these:
You rock, Felice!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Good Cat

My neighbors' cat Schmoo died this morning.

When they moved away for a year, Schmoo took up with me, in protest against her sister cat (a little bully) and the house-sitter's dog. She loved my deck, where she could be found any time of day and night.
When my friend Betsy visited, Schmoo sat on her welcome lap in morning sun, purred, and drooled.
RIP, Schmoo.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What Lies Underneath

It's not May, but they're doing it anyway: the mayapples bloom.
Their cheery faces, like wax figures, peek out from an umbrella canopy of green.
It's worth stooping to see them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tennessee State Flower

Dwarf crested iris fall
creek banks,
litter pebble trails,
line a shaded Abbo's entrance. From flowers smaller
than my palm,

petals unzip
honey and lavender ribbon candy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sweet Tooth

I'm not the only one pleased with the budding peonies.
When I Google "ants peonies," many pages pop up. My favorite sports the humorous title, "Ants on Plants." Oh, how tempted I am to steal it.But I don't need to: these sweet-toothed creatures speak for themselves.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ice Cream Suits

Like men wearing summer suits, linen and striped, in sherbet colors, these too turn the eye to what's under the feet and behind the blossom face.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Wonder of Color

Believing is seeing.

Turning on the lights in The Lemon Fair, I saw big bug, dead, on the floor, made a mental map of its location, and, when finished morning's first task, returned to sweep it into the dustbin.

Before tumping it into the trashcan, however, I saw a glint of oily color.

To the window we went and then outside, where I lay the beetle on the patio pebbles. Why, I thought, do I know so little about creepy-crawlies, and why do I think of them as creepy-crawlies to begin with?

What I don't know sometimes frightens me; what I learn often amazes and enlarges me. Thanks to this dead beetle for its small gift of beauty.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shooting Stars

Jill emailed this message to the Dead Plants: "Ronn came in from a walk and said there are shooting stars around the stop sign at Texas and Gipson."
I threw myself into the shower, into clothes, and into the car. Sure enough, there they were -- a clump of white wildflowers vulnerable to the weed whacking of the University mowing crew.Four times in two days, like a pilgrim, I have visited those flowers, hunkering down with the bugs, trying to take the perfect picture. I have not succeeded, but I have fallen hard for their spinning petals and pencil-shaped nose cones.
Who wouldn't?They're blossoming fantasies from some child's imaginings of starships before we went to the stars with our space capsules and orbiting telescopes.
And they're just as beautiful.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The View from the Kitchen

The view from here on a spring
morning tastes better than eggs
in the pan or tea in the mug.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Taking Them for Granted

As a southerner, I have always taken azaleas and hydrangeas for granted. Common and showy, pink azaleas across the front of the house and blue hydrangea ballooning in the back.

Now that I am obsessed with my camera meditations, I have begun to notice them before blooming as well as during and after. The hydrangea head, a lime pin cushion for sprites, and the azalea bud base, a coconut stripping its shell with to a cellophane lining, promise white and lavender and pink and cream waiting to burst.

I'll be there, too.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Family Bombyliidae

It's the time of year when a walk down the driveway to pick up the mail can mean an hour in the yard snapping photos. It happened again yesterday.

Swarming around the blooming crabapple, wasps, honey bees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, and bee flies zipped and zapped, sucking the nectar from every blossom, ignoring me.

Some 250+ snaps later, I had two that show the hovering insect in some detail: a furry creature with long legs and almost hidden stripes. I learned, slowly, that if I stood still, they would come to me.Thinking they were tiny hummingbird moths, I emailed photos to my entomologist friend Jill, who corrected me and sent me surfing the web.

"Hover and dart," says, of the bee fly.

The same could have been said of me with my camera.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


"The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; . . . "

Snippets of Dylan Thomas play along edges of consciousness

"And as I was green and carefree . . . "

while the world greens and birds call and flowers perfume the pollen-laden air and trees dress themselves again.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pleated Blossoms

As a little girl, I always found my Mother's handmade Sunday dresses too frou-frou: pleated and embroidered, they escaped my appreciation.
When I look at my great-nieces now in the same kinds of dresses, I cannot help love their fashion as well as them. What goes around comes back sometimes in different form and with different responses.
And so it is with
spring pleats, the wrinkling blossoms, shadowing themselves as they reach for the sky. My own mother, a master seamstress, could not have imagined them more beautiful.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Who Goes There?

Taking pictures from underneath something above my head yields surprises. Only after having taken the photograph and downloaded it to the computer do I sometimes know what I managed to capture.

Who goes here, for instance, just beginning to stretch beyond the lip of the left dogwood blossom?

Welcome, whoever you are! And how lucky to enjoy such a brilliant perch for hunting and sunning!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dizzying Speed

Color races up out of the ground, sprouts at the ends of every limb and branch, races up the trees like visible sap.

Everything proclaims the speed of the season, including a fly half the size of my little finger nail and two bee flies.

Flitting and darting from blossom to blossom, they suck the life out of flower and of me, struggling to keep up with spring.