The not-so-thirsty agave plant

giant agave plant

One of the fun things of being a photographer is that you get to go out in the elements when saner folks are at home, staying warm and dry on a stormy day.

I did take an umbrella on this rainy afternoon, but gave up when I found it impossible to balance both bumbershoot and camera in order to get just the picture I wanted. As a a result, the picture of this massive leaf of the giant agave was taken with rain dripping off my nose. Plant and person mirrored each other!

What I liked was the paradox of wet and dry. Here was this desert plant, designed with thick leaves to minimize the loss of moisture, brimming with water.

Hard to imagine, but we CAN embrace opposites if we just try.

If we all did the things we are capable of doing,
we would literally astound ourselves.

~Thomas Alva Edison~

 

The beauty of being thrifty

Moss patterns

It is always fun when Mother Nature shows you something you didn’t expect to see. Here, the moss patterns reveal the water currents, as clearly as if they’d been drawn with crayon.

And, as I looked closer, I recognized a pattern that I’d seen it before: it resembled the curve in the bark of an ancient tree, growing around the scar of an old, pruned branch.

Count on Mother Nature to be parsimonious. Why invent a new image, when you have one waiting in the wings to be used again!

All the vanity, all the charm, all the beauty of life
is made up of light and shadow.

~Leo Tolstoy~

 

An eye for rust

Artful decay

As an aficionado of texture, when I came upon this old shack, I was in seventh heaven. Consider that great rusty barrel, the rain-stained wood, the stovepipe hanging at an angle, that old window missing one pane, the tattered, rusting side-panels. It was perfect!

And then I discovered why is was perfect. It’s not real. This sheep herder’s cabin, nestled among a grove of eucalyptus trees, is a carefully constructed movie set. All that rust is man-made, as was the angle of the stovepipe and the metal patches about to fall to the ground. All were built with an eye toward illusion.

I decided I liked it anyway. How could I not admire an artist with an eye for rust!

And now we welcome the new year.
Full of things that have never been.
~Rainer Maria Rilke~

 

Don’t always believe what you see

Texas Mountain Laurel - Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly

I was attracted to this spot by a smell that took me back to childhood, the wonderful aroma of grape Kool-Aid. This is a Texas Mountain Laurel, or Mescal Bean plant, native to the southwest.

And then when I got there, I discovered this amazingly beautiful butterfly, a black Pipevine Swallowtail.

One gives pleasure to the eye; the other to the nose.

AND, both are highly poisonous!

The mescal bean has seed pods that make both people and animals sick. Even the coyotes won’t touch them. And the Pipevine Swallowtail is so toxic that other butterflies imitate those beautiful orange spots so they won’t be eaten, either.

You can’t always believe what you see…or what you smell!

If it is true, if it is beautiful,
if it is honorable, if it is right,
then claim it.

~Rob Bell~

 

In the furtherment of enjoyable exercise

trail mix dispensers

I found a whole wall at a hiking store filled with DIY dispensers for trail mix. My hat is off to the creators of the mixes, who must have had fun thinking up as many flavors as Jelly Belly jelly beans.

The hike may be tough, but if you gotta do it, go in style!

Statistics show
that of those
who contact the habit of eating,
very few survive.

~Wallace Irwin~

Enter the resourceful agave

Spider web in agave plant

The sharp tips of the giant agave are there for a purpose–to fend off predators such as javelina and hungry cattle intent on a juicy meal.

Too bad somebody didn’t tell the spiders, who found the spines to be perfect tent poles for their webs. Or the wind, who discovered the web to be a perfect receptacle for some spare leaves just blowing around.

It is nice to find something that can be put to more than one useful purpose. Nature is resourceful that way.

The first rule of intelligent tinkering
is to save all the parts.

~Paul Ehrlich~