Going against the grain

Going against the grain

My cat Foxy is small, but fiercely independent. She knows what she likes when she likes it.

For this afternoon nap, she chose to sleep crossways in this cat basket with one ear completely covered, even though, clearly, the right way to do it was just the opposite. But who is to say which might be more suitable for her?

I learn a lot, watching my cats.

Men wanted for hazardous journey.
Small wages, bitter cold. Long months off complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.

~Sir Earnest Henry Shackleton~

 

Breathless with the delight

being a child again

How long has it been

since you’ve had a friend
wind you up in a swing
and then let go
and you spin so fast
that suddenly you are staying in one spot
but the world is spinning
in a widening circle around you
and you are breathless with delight?

The swings are still there.

 

It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing
what you’ve wanted to do so badly.
You almost feel like you could
fly without the plane.

~Charles Lindberg~

 

 

 

Because she can

cat curling backward around scratching post

My cat Foxy has a corkscrew for a spine. I tried to figure out why she was doing this maneuver and finally concluded she chose this position because it felt good.

In addition to the yoga pose Downward Dog, perhaps we need one called Curly Cat.

The child is in me still…and sometimes not so still.
~(Mr.) Fred Rogers~

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~

 

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~

 

My mind is like Fibber McGee’s closet

Fibber McGee's hall closet

When I was poking about in Jerome’s suburbs one day, I came across this old shack. The roof was still intact, although patched with tin. The windows were gone, but that didn’t matter because there were plenty of openings to let in the great views.

What struck me, though, were the myriad of things piled up in there, objects like tables and chairs and mirror frames that once had been useful and beautiful, perhaps cherished by strangers in years gone past.

It reminded me a lot of an old radio show that I listened to as a kid–Fibber McGee & Molly. The running joke was that Fibber had a hall closet, filled with stuff that he intended to clean out one day.

Sometimes my imagination seems a lot like this cabin or Fibber McGee’s closet. It’s full of memories and the clutter of everyday living that I can’t quite bear to get rid of–I might need them someday!

To invent, you need a good imagination
and a big pile of junk.

~Thomas A. Edison~

In the midst of winter

aspen grove in summer

One of the true joys of photography is that it refreshes the mind’s eye with things half-remembered, yet totally true.

This picture of an aspen grove was taken one hot summer morning. The hiker and her dog ahead of me are enjoying the beautiful summer weather with me, a light breeze blowing, the heat on our shoulders. It reminds me that although winter is with us, it won’t last forever.

It seems to me that our minds travel in a straight-line projection of the future most of the time. If things are good, they’ll be that way forever, our imagination insists. Or worse, if they are BAD, they will only get worse. That’s the way it always happens.

Or does it?

In addition to a “Gratitude Journal” I sometimes keep an anxiety list to review from time to time. What I have discovered is that the things I worry about most rarely come to pass.

What a waste of good brain cells, to worry so!

Things are getting faster and faster
and stranger and stranger
and it’s almost comforting to think that
some sort of crystal moment will arrive
and a new order will snap out
and suddenly
everything will be different.

~William Gibson, science fiction author~

 

Squaring the circle

Squaring the circle

Squaring the circle was an ancient Euclidean geometry problem that tried to construct a circle with the same area as a square. Mathematicians, being the type of people they are, thought this concept of perfection would be really cool to prove.

Alas, it proved to be impossible. They spent countless hours over several centuries coming close, but never reaching the ultimate goal.

It is one of our endearing qualities as human beings. We continually strive for the impossible. Our challenge, it seems to me, is to be able to recognize when “close enough” is “good enough.”

The thing about performance, even if it’s only an illusion, is that it is a celebration of the fact that we do contain within ourselves infinite possibilities.
~Daniel Day-Lewis~ 

The delight of winter water

Clear Creek at Flood Stage

Imagine standing by this water on a crisp winter day as the rush of cold breeze caresses your face.

This is the Verde Valley’s Clear Creek at flood stage. In a normal flow, water is half this volume, but the creek bed anticipates change. Over the millennia the water has hollowed out a wide swath of normally dry land, preparing for potential that only happens once or twice a season. The trees standing in water are patient, knowing the snow melt from the San Francisco Peaks will eventually pass.

For the desert, this ebb and flow of the water passage is as inevitable as breath itself.

We, too, breathe in and out, allowing room for the intake gasp of surprise and that deep outward sigh of satisfaction.

Snow, snow over the whole land
across all boundaries.

The candle burned on the table,
the candle burned.

~Boris Pasternak~