Tuesday, December 4, 2012

There's Still Beauty There

 I started to feel a bit guilty after posting that photo of blooming Rabbitbrush with a group of Skippers enjoying themselves on it.  Guilty because I spoke of missing the beauty of it in August and September.  As of today, many of these plants have dropped all their seeds, but a few still have them.  To me, there's a kind of beauty in recognizing they're in a stage of a cycle and that these seeds will lead to next summer's blooms.  A similar cycle is going on with the Skippers.

 The grass along the sides of Golden Eagle Avenue have been mowed recently, obliterating lots of things I like to look at.  However, the Gum Plant, Grindelia nana, like its cousins the Dandelions, is persistent.  These beautiful composites generally reach 2 to 3 feet tall before blooming, but these, possibly in response to the mowing as well as the arrival of cold weather and shorter days, have bloomed while only 4 to 6 inches tall within days after the mowing. 
 I like seeing several stages in the cycle on one plant, and therefore in a single photograph.  Buds, freshly bloomed flowers, flowers going to seed, and flowers that have already dropped their seeds.  To me seeing the whole cycle is beautiful in a Wabi Sabi kind of way.

The recurved sepals are one of this plants more intriguing features.  This late in the year it is apparently not worth the expenditure of energy to manufacture the gum after which the plant is named.  In the hot, dry summer weather, a plant in this stage would sport a sticky, white 'wad' of gum on top of each bud protecting the merging flowers from dehydration.  I'm guessing that in this cool, wet weather that's not necessary.


  1. I like the rabbit brush Joe! Both of them. For me the intrigue is not in the color or season, but the forms it takes during each transition. Typically I prefer the dead and gone to seed ones from an artistic standpoint. Funny enough, I like your compositions with the dead and dying flowers much more that on my images. Go figure...

  2. When I took Judo lessons years ago, the instructor said "don't get into this because you're excited about throwing people around. WE don't throw people. We help them fall. My photography is similar. I don't try to make an image or force a plant or animal into a predetermined context. I just wander around, camera and notebook in hand, awaiting discoveries. I always try to get better at seeing, noticing, appreciating, but not manipulating. I hope it works.