Trapped Tulips

The flower shop of one of my local grocery stores sets out arrangements to encourage people to buy, and this one stopped me in my tracks a couple of years ago. I guess this is what you can do with the blossoms your toddler picks for you that have no stems; just pile them in a goldfish bowl with a handful of leaves. Since then I’ve seen enough similar arrangements, with blossoms or succulents enclosed for no good reason inside glass and wire, I figure this is now a thing. I have a whole collection of photos I call “Captive Plants.”

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Unusual

Drowned Picnic

Have you heard about the historically high water levels in Lake Ontario, the last and smallest of the Great Lakes? Record-setting rainfall in the spring overwhelmed the ability of the lake to handle everything that’s coming down from the other Great Lakes, given the restricted flow out through the St. Lawrence River. It’s battered shoreline properties on both sides of the lake, in the US and Canada. This picture I took just a month ago sums it up for me. Under the tree out there is a lamp post, a bench for looking out over the harbor, and a picnic table, but it’s all out of reach due to high water. Is this related to climate change? No one can say for certain, but something has surely changed.

Posted in response to the WordPress Photo Challenge: Delta

Nothing Lasts

In our back yard, just off the deck, is a large shrub or small tree that has the most beautiful flowers in the spring. I don’t know what it’s called (I am hopeless with plants – perhaps one of my readers can identify it?), but it’s lovely so I take a lot of photos of the glorious blossoms. Here’s one:The flowers last just a week or two, but even more short-lived are the buds they come from.They fascinate me. Not because they are there so briefly, but because they are so different from the flowers they will become. It’s hard to grab a photo of them in the short time they’re there, but I got one:

They are bright pink! Flamingo pink. Tropical sunset pink.

Where does that pink color go? Why is it there for the few days it take for the buds to become flowers? I don’t know, but I love it. I love that the plant invests in making that gorgeous color and then throws it away. I think of it as a flirty little secret it flashes to the world before setting down to its more traditional beauty. I feel privileged to share in that moment.

The world is a beautiful place, but beauty never lasts. We need to enjoy it wherever and whenever we find it.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Transient

Mandala

In honor of Yom HaShoa, the Day of Remembrance in which we give honor to those who lost lives and family in the Holocaust, there were two things happening in the central atrium at my college. There was a gallery of photos of local Holocaust survivors along with their stories, and a group of Tibetan monks creating a sand mandala. They painstakingly dropped grains of brightly-colored sand in an intricate pattern that represents the positive energy of the Buddha gathered in that place. It takes several days to complete the mandala, and then it is ritually destroyed. The sand is gathered up and poured into a nearby river, allowing the positive energy to be released into the world as the river carries it to the boundless ocean.

I post this picture because it shows different kinds of focus. The focus of the monk is obvious, as he builds up a beautiful house for God grain by grain. Around the room, students stopped in their rush from class to class to focus for a moment on deeper stories of pain and perseverance. For one week in April, the atrium was a place of quiet remembrance, of sadness and hope for the future, of the deliberate invocation of peace.

May it be so.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Focus