Invitation

Last year color curled up tight, rolled itself into a ball and hid like a bear in winter. Emerging tentatively

now it spritzes the air with a stippling of pale mint green on charcoal gray branches,

blushes the twigs of dogwood blood red, or gold,

washes the magnolia tree’s petals faintly, with rose and cream

and softens the horizon with a thousand filmy greens

as the swollen buds of birch, alder and maple rejoice.

Color paints the tips of tiny moss leaves gold, and in the wetlands

shines see-through light on brave grass sprouts,

fixes a silky shimmer on the fur of willow catkins,

lights the sky with a delicate shade of lavender blue,

and invites reverie. Color returns, indifferent to all our small sufferings

ignorant of our diseases and wars, just the season’s dependable procession

for now.

 

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The photos:

  1. Magnolia flower; Rhododendron Species Garden, Federal Way, Washington.
  2. Magnolia petals on the ground; Bellevue Botanical Garden, Bellevue, Washington.
  3. Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) buds and foliage; Bellevue Botanical Garden.
  4. Moss spore capsules; Bellevue Botanical Garden.
  5. Moss-covered rocks border a stream at the Seattle Japanese Garden, Seattle, Washington.
  6. A yellow variety of Red twig dogwood ( Cornus sericea); Juanita Bay Park, Kirkland, Washington.
  7. Native shrubs and trees in early April on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, Duvall, Washington.
  8. More trees and shrubs, including willows, on the trail in Duvall.
  9. New leaves of Red huckleberry (Vaccinium parvifolium); O.O. Denny Park, Kirkland.
  10. Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis), another Pacific northwest native; Juanita Bay Park.
  11. Flowering tree and cloud reflections in a stream at Bellevue Botanical Garden.
  12. Forget-me-nots (Myosotis arvensis) at Rhododendron Species Garden.
  13. A pair of Douglas fir cones nestled in moss at Rhododendron Species Garden.
  14. The woods are greening at home too. The moss glows like neon on the branches, but the Big Leaf maple (the gray-barked, spreading-limbed tree) hasn’t unfurled its leaves yet; Kirkland.
  15. Red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) and Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformis) intermingle at Juanita Bay Park.
  16. An old willow begins to leaf out, and bright green Licorice fern adorns its branches at Juanita Bay Park.
  17. An insect pauses on a Magnolia bud at Seattle Japanese Garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


72 comments

    • You know, I sort of vacillate about making more or less realistic/painterly photographs. I like both styles. I’m glad to hear the encouragement for the more painterly side. I could go farther with it, but often something stops me. 😉 I should think about that! 😉 Thanks Alan!

  1. Even after reading the description, it took me a bit of time to sort out what I was seeing in #11. My first impression was that the clouds were below the tree’s branches, which would have been a very neat trick, indeed. My favorites are the grouping from 6-8. I did notice something interesting. Despite the variety of colors, there’s no purple. I’m sure it’s around and simply not included here (you can’t include everything!) but its absence was notable to me — probably because we’ve been awash in purples here, and it’s hardly been possible to turn around without finding a new purple flower.

    • The absence of purple is partly because there aren’t many purples around here now (in wildflowers, they come more in late summer). I photographed a nice Pulsatilla (Pasque flower) blooming at a rock garden, and I tried it here; the color, which is really pretty, didn’t look good in this post. So there ya go! 🙂 I’m glad you’re having a florific, terrific, spring!

  2. Beautiful series, Lynn. My favorites are (you can probably guess by now) 6, 7 and 8. We have been getting snow daily here and I’m eager to see some signs of spring. Shot like these give me hope.

    • I’m pleased you liked those – I love that all-over look, but it isn’t so easy to get it across as a coherent image. Your basic pretty flower is easier. 😉 So that gives me hope. You give me a little, I’ll give you a little.

    • And it’s fall where you are, so I appreciate your stepping outside of your own hemispheric bias (if I can say there is such a thing!) to tell me you enjoyed these. 😉 Thank you, thank you!

  3. Wonderful pictures of the beginning spring! And your words, your “poem of spring”, are so beautiful too. You desribed it so well, all these tender elements of spring!! Though it is a foreign language for me, the onomatopoeia you chose, seems to “paint” the springtime perfectly! – I love the moss and the tiny flowers, the forget-me-nots and the colours and “lines” of the willows!! Number 13 made me smile: I took a similar photo yesterday, but with a different cone 🙂

    • I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the poem. Writing does not come as easily to me as the visual arts, but I like to try. It makes sense to me that you would gravitate towards the moss and the forget-me-nots, and that you would have photographed a pine cone in the moss, too. Thank you for being here!

      • Maybe it does not come easily, but you are doing so well with it! I enjoy reading your posts. You have a very sublte way to write and describe things! I can’t describe it any better, but it is noticeable, if someone writes excellent and you do 🙂 Thank you! for being here!

    • As I said to Ken above, I really love that all-over look, but it can be harder to make a coherent image out of it. So it’s really good to hear you appreciate those. Thank you!

  4. A real treat, thank you. The free verse and photos are both such a nice springtime treat.
    Those Douglas fir cones look so comfortable, I wouldn’t mind taking a nap next to them. They’re interesting-looking cones, too, aren’t they, I’ve never seen any like that.
    The forget-me-nots reminded me (which I guess makes a lot of sense) of a summer at my parents’ house, when the similar Chinese forget-me-nots went crazy, seeded off everywhere, and sprouted from one end of the yard to the other.
    And really like #4 shot of the moss, tiny but reaching up for all it’s worth. Great album.

    • Don’t the cones look at home? Like they belong there, which of course they do. And I assure you, I didn’t move them, though from time to time I will remove an offending whatever from an image I’m making. 😉 It’s interesting to hear about the Chinese variety at your grandparents house – I didn’t know they do that, but I love the idea of it. It’s fun when flowers run all over a garden – usually. Forget-me-nots are one of my earliest, fondest memories of our home in Syracuse, when I was in elementary school. There was a detached garage hard by the woods, with a row of forget-me-nots and lilies of the valley along one side, that bloomed without any care, every May. Thanks for sharing that memory! Glad you enjoyed the writing, too. Happy Spring!

      • Happy Spring! It’s great to see the sun again. In Boston, the procession is running a bit behind. We do have the pale green of verdigris on the copper gutters, the tips of our noses are cherry red, and lots of blossom-like salt encrustations on the car bumpers. 🙂

    • That’s great, Steve, I’m glad. I have a whole series of images from that day but I was afraid they wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste – but of course, nothing makes everyone happy. In any case, you can imagine how beautiful that stretch of wetlands is right now, just glowing with twiggy, subtle colors.

    • Another vote for the photos I thought might be lost in the shuffle. Glad to hear it, Louis. I should work on that as a theme and put together a gallery of them. One of these days! Thank you!!

  5. Beautiful images. The moss spores are my favorite. Didn’t know the English name Forget-me-not. They’re called Förgätmigej in Swedish, with the same meaning. So I learned the name, and that they are just as beautiful wherever they grow.

    • They are…I think in German it’s the same, too…I just checked, also French. Obviously the name goes way back. I think you must see a lot of moss where you live, and I do, too. I was just out photographing more today! Thanks for your interest, Goran!

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  7. It looks like you are having a wonderful spring, Lynn.
    I especially love the magnolias. They are my very favorite spring flower, and I am looking so forward to when they bloom here.
    Have a wonderful week ahead!

    • Spring is always wonderful! After the winter you’ve had, it will be twice as sweet, right? In New York, sometimes the Magnolias would bloom too early, a frost would happen, and they’d be damaged. I hope that doesn’t happen this year – it didn’t here anyway. The Magnolia is an amazing tree – did you know they are really ancient? I agree, the flowers are magnificent. I’ve always loved the leaves, too, and the fruit! It’s so powerful looking. The whole tree has a special grace, and when I think about how ancient it is, I like it even more! 😉

  8. #1: How magnificently you have depicted the magnolia, how creamy, how delicate.
    #2: And yes, still beautiful in senescence.
    #4: I love that you got this close to the moss. So sweet.
    #6, 7, & especially 8: Gorgeous scribbles of color. Love the slight fuzziness to them. (Negative Lightroom clarity?) My favorites in this post. Fun to see how many other people pick them, too.
    #11: I can feel the spring-ness of the day! Feels good.
    #16 I like the fuzziness in this one, too, and the way those ferns drape around the branches.
    #17: I like that you put this photo at the end, to bookend the collection. The insect makes the photo–very nice.
    Your poem is lovely, with a barb at the end that is fitting.

  9. Linda, thank you! I was privileged to see that Magnolia at the height of bloom, and was happy with that photo. I love Magnolias!! #2 was with you in mind, of course, and scattered petals always draw me. They’re poetic, no? I took one of badly crushed petals on the gravel walkway too, as an experiment, and decided I didn’t like it. You’d find a way to make it work, I think. I worked on moss closeups again today – haven’t checked yet, maybe I’ll get a better image. It’s harder than you’d think. There’s PLENTY around here (even on metal) so there’s no excuse. 😉
    Yes, it’s cool that a number of people enjoyed those wetland photos. It was a complex process to get there – sometimes I actually reduce clarity first, in Color Efex, where it’s called “Glamor Glow” (ugh!) then come back and sharpen on top of that. You can get a glow that way and still have definition. Each one of those took many steps in processing.
    I think #11 is happy, too, an upside-down happy, what a good idea, right? #16 is (obviously) pretty heavily processed, with a lot of the blur vignette that Color Efex has, if you play with it, it can be really nice. #17 – great, that was the idea. I couldn’t articulate why, but I knew the insect sitting on the Magnolia bud was a nice finish. Thank you so much for noticing. 🙂 And for mentioning the writing…and the ending, which is a reference to climate change. I didn’t want to be heavy-handed about it; it may be too subtle, but that’s better than hitting everyone over the head with it.

  10. You have such a gift, one that spans many sensitivities; poetic and expressive words, photos that cast calming spells over us, a deep love and empathy for your fellow man – or woman… thank you for being you, and for sharing your gifts with us. Because of you, we’re all better and more awake – yet calm….

    I’ve not seen forget-me-nots in ages! They always warm my heart!

    i wrote this earlier but its still on the screen.. perdon if it reaches you twice!

    • You embarrass me, Lisa….yes, forget-me-nots, such a classic, and that shade of blue is so beautiful. Please don’t worry about the exigencies of your connections: posting twice, not being online for days, whatever. It’s fine. Happy equatorspring, whatever that could mean!

      • exactly about that ‘equatorspring! some areas, like the cloud forest – seem to be in a perpetual spring! i think that our days might stretch to be half an hour longer at certain times , but basically it’s 12/12 year round!

  11. Glorious tribute to spring’s emergence, Lynn. I love your poetic description and your last two lines. The painterly layering of colors in your landscape images is so well seen and your close ups are so nicely composed and focused. Your lead shot! Beautiful post.

  12. How poetical is the text; seems inspired by the photographs! And the pictures give spring feeling all around me.
    Especially no.s 6 to 8 have a very special sparkling detail sharpness I love. The grass seems moving. Beautiful!

    • Coming from you, a good word about the writing is wonderful, Ule. I’m happy you like those three photos, they’re obviously not the usual spring flowers. There is a moment – OK, maybe a week! – in Spring where there is a haze of subtle color in places like that, which can be so beautiful, and that’s what I’m trying to convey.

  13. Lovely words – and what a riot of luscious colour >>> and I think that Linda Grashoff and are on very similar wavelengths >>> my favourites are 1 ohh!, 3, 4 ohh!, 6, 11 ohh!, 16, 17. A 🙂

    • Glad you enjoyed the local scenery, Adrian….soon we’re on our way on a road trip south, along the coast and into California to see the redwoods. Who knows what I’ll be able to photograph!

  14. Ah spring blossoms. And they’re just beginning! 🙂 I’d have to say I like the moss spores and the cones nestled comfortably the best, but honorable mention to the near impressionistic feel of 6-8.

  15. Wonderful descriptive prose ~ increased the anticipation of the photos that were soon to follow 🙂 Great post Lynn, it matches my feelings I am having with spring right now…it is here, and to be savored. Cheers to a great day.

    • Cheers to you as well, Randall, and thank you for the kind words. I’m not sure which side of the Pacific you’re on right now, but I trust you’re enjoying life wherever it takes you.

  16. I’m loving your comment of having a second spring as it looks like etown will be hit with a winter storm so happy to miss that one but probably still have snow til June 😜 smiles over the pond Lynn always so beautiful and educative ❤️

  17. Each one more beautiful than the next, Lynn. The first magnolia blossom is so soft and creamy, gorgeous. I love the delicate textures of #s 6 – 8 – the hope of spring personified. What a delight to see the world through your eyes.


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