wildflowers, weeds, and whatnot

sarah brennan

sarah brennan
December 31
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APRIL 28, 2012 11:30PM

in which I finally remember to let go

Rate: 13 Flag

Ohhhh…what a rough week. Life is all about balance, yes? This week, after several weeks of “soon” and “almost”, circumstances finally resolved themselves such that I am now able to work from home. This led to an absolute quantum leap in productivity, but at some personal cost. Combined with the recent intense gym workouts, I found myself getting sucked toward the event horizon of the productivity wormhole. That’s when I get attached to my own accomplishments, and start letting my sense of personal self-worth get mixed up in there.

Let’s review: what gives a person their worth and meaning? Answer (trick question!): nothing. Worth is inherent. It’s a function of just being alive. I suppose some people just… know this, but for me, well…I tend to forget it, particularly in the midst of Great Bursts of Accomplishment. Paradoxically, I have had to work quite hard to not…work so hard. To let go of trying. To just allow. This is why I stopped working for two years. It’s why I do Reiki. And it’s why I do so much photography.

But this week, as I observed myself getting closer and closer to the whirlpool of doom, I kept making excuses for not going out with the camera. “Oh, the light’s crappy.” “Oh, I don’t have time.” Blah blah blah. Letting myself just be still, letting myself feel that I am part of the gorgeous, divine universe – in the hard moments, those words become meaningless syllables. Finally, this morning, I did a Very Brave Thing. I walked away from a sink full of dirty dishes, grabbed the camera, and dragged myself outside.

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And….exhale. Here’s some miterwort (Mitella diphylla).


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This is self-heal (Prunella vulgaris). It’s your basic lawn weed around here. This is fine with me, as it results in a purple lawn, which is what I aspire to.

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Here’s a syrphid fly getting acquainted with the naughty bits of a particularly ambitious type of grass – it’s already flowering. The rest of the lawn grass is still bitching about how we never rake the leaves out of it. “Get over it,” I want to tell the grass. Or, as my wonderful optometrist told me two days ago, when I freaked at hearing that I need progressive lenses (apparently my arms won’t be getting any longer), “use your vast resources of personal flexibility”.

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Flowers don’t freak out about life. They just get on with the business of living. This here is Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum sp.)

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Here’s one of only a couple of flowering Canada Mayflowers (Maianthemum canadense) I’ve seen so far. I’ve seen veritable boatloads of just the one jaunty leaf – those won’t have any flowers. Hopefully I’ll remember where this guy was so I can go back and visit it as the flowers develop.

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Speaking of plants who need more than one year to get it together enough to flower, here’s a jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema atrorubens). You can see at its base, a wee little one as well that’s probably another couple of years away from producing the flowering structure. Want a close-up? Sure you do.

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Jacks are very happifying flowers, don’t you think? Although this one almost looks scorched. Perhaps jack was preaching a little too much hellfire and brimstone.

Onwards to trillium (Trillium erectum): many of them are past their prime, which only means that the cool seed formation part is starting now.

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A very cool symmetrically balanced seed is being formed even as we speak. The google borg informs me that ants are involved in dispersing trillium seeds, but don’t quote me.

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Love it.

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As with the Canada Mayflower, I’ve seen a bunch of starflowers  (Trientalis borealis) this year, but this is the only one with a flower forming. It was while I was lying on the ground getting this shot that I idly wondered how many ticks were crawling into my clothing.

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Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) flowers never cease to amaze me.

The leaves have gone green by now, no more space-alien purple leaves:DSC_0868 (2)

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The ferns – probably cinnamon ferns – are coming along nicely, but are still at the stage where they look like they’re composed of tiny bubbles welded together.

Oh! Oh! Oh! For some reason, I’m irrationally fond of white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)

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Maybe because the berries are very distinctive, and I’ve only ever seen two to three examples of it on our property, so I have tended to really bond with individual plants. Above and below are this year’s babies. Yay!

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Speaking of berries…DSC_0918 (2)

Just one of the truckloads of sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis) we’ve got cooking this spring.

We have maidenhair fern in various stages. I’ll show you the newest one. My 9 year old niece and I agree:DSC_0898 (2)

Kinda wormy.

Remember willow? Their crazy flowers have been pollinated, and now they’re cooking up seeds.

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Will they all go red? Or that a function of subspecies? Dunno. One more thing to pay attention to.

We noticed that the frogs start singing a few hours later than they used to. Maybe that’s because many of ‘em have gotten lucky:

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Actually, I can’t quite tell what kind of eggs these are, but thanks to other nature geeks and the miracle of the internet, I’m starting to wrap my mind around this.

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I so appreciate how you bring the minute (tiny) world to all of us. It's incredibly beautiful. The colors are gorgeous. Do you ever take pictures of landscapes or larger subjects?
The detail in flowers and plants is always amazing--a good reminder to look closer.
More tiny beauties from Sarah! (Hang on to that Prunella vulgaris - it may keep you from going into the the Whirlpool of Doom!)
Thank you for being brave. Thank you for reminding me to put the quagmire of accomplishments aside, if only for an instant. Mesmerizing.
The devil's in the details. So interesting to step into your visual world.
I am in awe of your nature wisdom and appreciative of your gift being shared with us. Stunning! R
I've been admiring your post for half an hour now. Keep going back and forth on those gorgeous photos. What an eye you have and what skill! Great work.
I Love Life: Do I ever take pictures of landscapes or larger subjects? Sure...sometimes...but to be honest, at this time of year, once I get that macro lens on the camera body...not often!

jlsathre - I am so often surprised by what I see once I look through the camera - that syrphid fly? I thought it was just a bit of fluff until I zoomed in.

Jen - yes, self-heal is aptly named; purple is good for the soul.

Gotham Chick - thanks! Consider this blog your go-to on the days you can't take that lunch hour!

Katie - I must confess, it sometimes takes a couple of days of misery to get me to find that bravery...=)

Lea, Rita, still green: thank you! Come back often - I try to get out several times a week...
Yes god is in the details.
Thank you, Sarah. I needed this today (which makes it no accident that I found you). Also, I am reminded that this fledgling photographer (me) would like to find a photography mentor to tag along with and learn some tricks. Going solo is only getting me so far. I need to find a class. Have a fabulous day!