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~

 

Tenacity of the vine

The vine in the rockThis was such a cool discovery! It is both a model of design, with all those zigzagging textures, and the actual event, a wisteria vine too stubborn to quit.

When the plant found itself blocked, it changed direction not once but several times. And it isn’t a young whippersnapper of a vine. Take a look at the thickness of girth–this plant has been here for years, patiently finding a path through difficult situations and creating beauty in the process.

As I grow older, things that were once easy for me are sometimes harder to accomplish. But I have grown in wisdom through my experiences. I have become the guru of “work arounds.”

My parents of pioneer stock would be proud.

You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream a new dream.

~Aristotle~

The magic of being still

Bow tie for the pond

Every now and then, nature presents us with a joke, if we are only receptive enough to catch it. Here, I found a perfect bow tie in the middle of the Dead Horse Park lagoon. Just waiting for someone to turn it around and paste it onto a beautiful package.

Or perhaps, it already was the ideal present, just waiting to be untied!

The universe is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to go sharper.
~Eden Phillpotts~

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~

These rocks, my friends

Rocks as friends

These basalt boulders are at the Ensinoso Park in Oak Creek near Sedona. In low-water times of the year, there is a crossing here where the white water is. You can just hop from stone to stone to traverse the creek.

In the winter, their crevices become miniature caverns of ice. In the summer, their meeting-edge with the creek is moss-covered. Their shadows provide shelter for the new river troutlings each spring.

Over the years I have sat on their surfaces, dangling bare toes in the cold waters. They have become lifelong, enduring friends, these rocks.

Once in a life, a person ought to concentrate their mind upon the remembered earth, give themselves up to a particular landscape, look at it from as many angles as possible. They ought to imagine touching it at every season and listen to the sounds that are made upon it. Imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind. Recollect the glare of noon
and all the colors of the dawn and dusk.

~N. Scott Momaday, Kiowa/Cherokee, winner of  the Pulitzer Prize~

Sometimes what you see is not there

Not a dead owl

At first glance, this appeared to be a tragedy: soft downy fuzz, longer tail feathers. Had an owl met its match with a bobcat? Oh, no!

And then I took a second look. Not tail feathers at all, but rather, Eucalyptus leaves. Not down but cottonwood tree cotton. Whew!

I like owls. And I like bobcats. I’m glad they didn’t meet here.

Silence is the absolute balance
of body, mind and spirit.
Silence is the cornerstone of character
and its fruits are
self-control, true courage, endurance, patience, dignity and reverence.

~Ohiyesa, Santee Sioux

The direction of light

holes to let the light in

We are used to looking straight ahead as we gaze into the distance. But sometimes it is useful to look up.

Here, a shaded walkway is transformed into a beautiful design of latticework that creates a dual pattern: looking up, looking down.

Light that speaks! An artist’s chiaroscuro dream.

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt,
and poetry is painting that is felt
rather than seen.

~Leonardo da Vinci~

 

Stories in tombstones

Cemetery markers

When I visit in the eastern part of the country, I love to visit old cemeteries. So many old stories are contained in the family plots!

This one interested me, in that all of the gravestones seemed to be tightly contained behind a walled barrier, as though saying, this is our plot, all ours, and don’t you intrude.

It reminded me of some Southern civil war cemeteries where the Southerners were buried in one section of the park, and the Northern “intruders” were buried in another.

It seems that even in death, it is difficult for some folks to acknowledge that we are more alike than different.

The only difference between a rut and a grave
are the dimensions.

~Ellen Glasgow~

 

 

The road less traveled–recently

I discovered this scene in Zion National Park at the golden hour of sunset. What is special to me are the leaves scattered in the path. It appears that the route, although well-traveled in the past, hasn’t seen much action recently.

That, for me, makes it irresistible. What fun, to discover something of value that others may have ignored!

The earth seemed to move with me.
I found a new source of power and beauty,
a source I never knew existed.

~Sir Roger Bannister,
first person to run a four-minute mile~