Thursday, June 30, 2011

Color Names

This morning I read a fascinating New York Times article titled, "We Call It Brown. They Call it 'Weekend in the Country.'" As the granddaughter, daughter, sister, and aunt of paint manufacturers, I'll read just about anything about pigment and coatings.

A Valspar color specialist is quoted as saying, "We're exploring color names that are a representation of your lifestyle." Or perhaps the kind of lifestyle she and other color specialists think
I (I am the you, after all) live. (Imagine: the J. Peterman of wishful paint thinking.)

What are some of the names? "Sherwin-Williams offers Synergy! From Ace Paint comes Hey There! Benjamin Moore has Old World Romance, all names that give new meaning to the term colorblind." Uh huh. Quick! Name the color family!

Can you imagine thumbing through Benjamin Moore's fan deck of 3,300 colors? How is that deck organized anyway? By mood? By fantasy? By catastrophe? ("Pantone offers Tubulence and Tornado.") And just how much does it weigh?

Why don't we all get to choose a color and then name it for ourselves? My father did that once for his company's tones: St. Luke's Red.

I think I'll try it myself. Here's a lovely little wildflower that grows by a wooden bridge at Lake Cheston. Look at it first and think to yourself,
What would I call this color? I'll give you a minute (indicated by the blank space after the picture of the Virginia Meadow Beauty).

Well? What did you name it?

For me, it is now and forever this: My Niece's Cheeks After She Walked along the Bottom of a Swimming Pool.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Where Insects Abound

Mary and Lydia grow flowers and edibles at The Community Gardens, and because of them I have always have something worth snapping. Thanks, friends, for the lively studio!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's a Teeny-Weeny Circus Out There!




Creepy creatures!


Wire walkers!

Free admission!

Come on down to Mikell Lane!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Bird That Hit My Side Mirror

realized almost too late
I was approaching,
caromed onto pavement,
flopped, flipped up,
flapped off into grass.
No stopping
on the triple s-curving
road between fields.
I saw the hit-and-fly
bird only briefly
in the mirror,
but his reflection
flickered all day.
I hope he flies.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Buggin' It

As they approached me on Lake Cheston's dam, Tam called out, "Buggin' it?"

"Yep," I said. "As always."

I pointed out a few dragonflies, and we chatted briefly, promising to get
together for a bug walk.

Before they moved on with their dogs, Tam said, "Are you still
publishing these?"

"I'm still blogging every day," I said. "Mostly only bugs now."

"Send me the link," she said, and Sarah said, "Send it to me, too!"

Tam and Sarah, this is for you.

Today's Top 10 + 1 List:

1. Female Pondhawk at Lake Cheston
2. Eastern Amberwing at Lake Cheston
3. Eastern Meadowhawk on Breakfield Road
4. American Snout at the Community Gardens
5. Spider Snagging a Turquoise Bluet at Lake Cheston
6. Turquoise Bluets Mating at Lake Cheston
7. Spangled Skimmers Mating at Lake Cheston
8. Thick-headed Fly at the Community Gardens
9. Calico Pennants Mating at Lake Cheston
10. Ladybug on Cone Flower at the Community Gardens
11. Female Pondhawk Eating Bumblebee at My Own Dadgum House!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Face to Face

Note to self: bug-hunt in early morning, when sun warms wings.

That's the best time for face-to-face encounters.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flying Lagniappes

I snapped, and the long-legged fly disappeared.

I snapped and captured the long-legged fly.

I snapped, and the long-legged fly disappeared.

Over and over again, we played now-you-see-me-now-you-don't.

Only when I got home did I notice the flying lagniappes. Gotcha!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Little Light

1. 11 AM: I read that a previously unknown Caravaggio painting will be shown this September at The National Gallery of Canada. It doesn't look Caravaggio-esque to me, but my art historian brother says the authenticator is reputable and the painting possible. 2. 4:50 PM: I photograph a lightning bug, perched at the tip of leaf overlooking orange and red lilies, apparently grooming the luminous end of his abdomen with his last set of legs. 3. 5:30 PM: I search the Internet for an explanation of what I have seen and come upon a startling theory. According to Roberta Lapucci, a teacher at Florence's Studio Art Centers International, Caravaggio, the painter of strong directional light and shadow, may "have used a photoluminescent powder from crushed fireflies, which was used at the time to create special effects in theatre productions."

4. 8:25 PM: Fireflies lift their little lights, ascending from the ground in lowering darkness.

5. Caravaggio and fireflies: two of my favorite things. Such lovely companions.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Four Ways of Looking at Luminescence

"Luminescence: the emission of light by a substance that has not been heated" (Oxford Dictionaries) and, I would add, that offers heat.

On a honeycombed web, a pearl-and-obsidian spider (Argiope aurantia?) drawing life from a lustrous magenta bug.

Encouragement from an artist who is a friend.

Three soapy bubbles in today's only hint of sun.

Free-trade dragonfly earrings of recycled cans: "a small token to show appreciation for all" I've done for a former colleague.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Folding in Another Language

A familiar folded book form
with Japanese directions
makes me feel
like a heathen
in the lurch.

Yea, Sewanee's Right!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Work in Progress

When I started this blog, I thought I'd offer my great-nieces and great-nephew a window into my life. I didn't want to be the Somewhat Unknown Great Aunt Robley.

Over time, the blog morphed into something else -- a kind of journal of my daily living.

And then, again over time, it morphed into a celebration of the world in which I wander every day.

I am sure it will morph anew, but for now I am happy to record bits of my daily ambles.

Today, I spent almost three hours with a friend at Lake Dimmick, also known as Day Lake. It has fast become my favorite place on earth. A walk through two locked gates (the first next to a white horse), a winding stretch of road, an old field and barn on one side and woods on the other, the woods slowly giving way to a shallow, life-filled lake studded with Snot Grass and rippling water scudded with clouds.

View Larger Map

Other than Greg's occasional voice or the paper scuffle of dragonfly wings or the jets high above, there is no sound, no person other than my friend and me.

If I were Thoreau or Dillard, I would happily settle in a tiny house on the edge of far woods and spend my days marveling at such sights as these:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thick-headed Flies

When I saw one two days ago in Mary's echinacea patch, I hesitated and didn't reach in far enough to get a photograph. Today, I threw caution to the wind (literally) and just barged right in. Boy, did I catch some action!

As I snapped these two insects mating, I assumed they were wasps or hornets. Just look at their shape, and you might well think the same thing. But my friend Jill corrected me (again): they're Thick-headed Flies.

Nothing I can say is half so good as this: "Conopids are most frequently found at flowers, feeding on nectar with their long proboscis. This wonderful contraption resembles the spout on the old railroad trackside water towers used during the Steam Era, and the boom used in mid-air refueling operations, albeit with a sucking mechanism instead of offloading."

Oh how I love and the clever mimicry of the Thick-headed Flies.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Designer Eggs

One yellow egg carton, two sea foam green and ten speckled eggs in hues of sand, sienna, ocher, apricot, and blush.

Regina's chickens must watch Martha Stewart and HGTV, or else their coop is stuffed with Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware catalogs.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Let the Flying Begin!

The American Lady lingered long enough for me to snap more than 30 decent photographs.

At first, I thought she was a Painted Lady. But when she closed her wings, I saw those big eyes. Oh my. Jeffrey Glassberg is right: To distinguish from the Painted Lady remember, 'American Ladies have big eyes and open mind.' The big eyes refer to the 2 large eye-spots on the HW below. Painted Ladies have 4 smallish eye-spots on the HW below. The open mind refers to the lack of a horizontal 'closing' line connecting the black lines in the lower middle FW above. Most individuals have a white spot on the FW above that Painted Ladies lack."

Oh, lady! You can paint my day orange, white, blue, and brown any day!