Drawn by a giant

Drawn by a giant

The constantly changing perspective of Alice in Wonderland delights me. First she is tiny and the world is huge. All of a sudden she grows immense and everything around her has shrunk.

Her image has stuck with me as I take pictures, and it sometimes creates dizzying shifts of perspective. As I viewed this desert cliff side, I thought of her possible Southwestern counterpart.

Imagine, if you will, a gigantic artist, coloring this desert scene. He settles carefully into a cross-legged position in the arroyo, trying to fit in amongst the cottonwoods and alder trees.

Out of an immense pencil box he picks up a piece of charcoal and carefully smudges the vermilion cliffs with desert varnish. Then he selects a white pen and limns the outlines of the Octotillo, as it waits for the summer rains…

Imagination must be visited constantly,

or else it begins to become restless and

emits strange bellows at embarrassing moments. Ignoring it only makes it grow larger and noisier.
~Patricia McKillip~

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~

 

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~

 

What remains is precious

What remains is beautiful

In Arizona, both in the desert climate of Phoenix and at higher elevations like Sedona, pomegranates, those expensive jewels of the supermarket, thrive. I’ve seen hedges of pomegranate bushes, so full of delectable red fruit that the branches sink with the weight.

This one I liked, because the remaining fruit seemed almost a hand-carved bird feeder, serving up the sweet pips to all comers.

It reminds me that something doesn’t have to be whole and beautiful to be perfect.

The act of putting into your mouth
what the earth has grown is perhaps
your most direct interaction with the earth.

~Frances Moore Lappe,
author of DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET