(UN)STILL LIFE WITH FLOWERS

PART ONE

1. Species hybrid iris ‘Kinshikou’ at Bellevue Botanical Garden, Bellevue, Washington.

This is a story about my life, an un-still life with flowers. The title plays on a ubiquitous trope in art, the still life with flowers. Countless painters have challenged themselves with the pleasurable task of painting blooms and blossoms; a search for “Still Life with Flowers” yields a riot of results, from a lovely Odilon Redon to a dynamic Juan Gris. Flowers play a big part in my life too, but unlike a painting, my life has hardly been still. So an “un-still life with flowers” is the framework I’ll use here to convey some of the particulars of this life – a life in which plants have been a focus from as early as I can remember.

It can be said that flowers are tired, even trite subjects for the photographer as well as the painter. They’ve been done and done again. I get it. But flowers – actually all plants – are important to me. I needn’t turn my back on floral subject matter just because it isn’t terribly original. In fact, I can’t imagine turning my back on flowers, and leaves, buds, seeds, bark and the rest! Though there was a decade or so when plants faded into the background of my life, they soon reappeared as a primary focus. The thread of green that twines through my days has never completely disappeared.

So here are pieces of that story, told in installments and interspersed with photographs of flowers and plants that stopped me in my tracks, whether in gardens, wild places, markets, or at home. There are a few photographs from the old family album, too.

2. Wildflowers and grasses at a park outside of Seattle.

Somewhere in a box or a picture album there is an old black and white photo of a happy toddler squatting in the dirt, grinning broadly and pointing to emerging tulip leaves. That’s me. It’s a warm spring day in the 1950s. I am plunked down at the edge of the grass, where my mother scraped a bit of garden from the soil around our small home in rural Michigan, and I’m excited about the smell of the earth and those plucky green sprouts pushing up through the dirt. This photo symbolizes the beginning of my plant fascination and I wish I could put my hands on it, but I can’t find it anywhere. The old photo of me below gets the point across though: flowers held my rapt attention from the start.

3. Your narrator.

I was a middle child, born in the mid-afternoon, in mid-May in the geographical center of Michigan’s lower peninsula, to a middle-class family. There was an older brother and in a few years, there would be a younger one. Our family had no roots in the Midwest. We landed there because of my maternal grandfather. Born into a poor Welsh coal-mining family in West Virginia, he had powerful ambitions. That, and a talent for sizing up the big picture and acting on it, took him a long way from his roots. He became a successful, self-made businessman who, by the time his children were grown, was overseeing several businesses from his office on New York City’s Park Avenue. One of them was a small chemical company in rural Michigan.

4. My grandfather, with his mouth open, second from left. Note the many drinks on the table and the cigarette in his hand. My grandmother sits next to him in the middle.

My father, a New Yorker from a hard-working, German-American immigrant family, happened to land a research position at Michigan Chemical Company right after he finished his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry. Also working at the plant was another scientist named Pete, my uncle. But I hadn’t been born yet – not even close. Pete’s sister Helen came out one summer to work in the company office as her Dad worked to grow the business. She had just graduated college. That summer in tiny St. Louis, Michigan, Helen met Herb, they fell in love and were married before the year was out.

5. Bouquet at a farmer’s market in Washington State.

I began life in a place that must have felt more than a little alien to my mother, a sheltered girl from the New York suburbs, and my father, who grew up playing stickball with broomsticks on the rough-and-tumble streets of Brooklyn. They had no exposure to Midwestern ways; busy cities and suburbs were familiar territories, not acres of farmland. But for a very young child, the situation was idyllic: a little house on a hill with a few more houses nearby and a field that sloped gently away, rabbits running everywhere, fresh air, no traffic…but let my father tell it: “While St. Louis was a friendly town, it was a rural backwater, not the ideal place to raise children.” Well, that’s from the boy from Brooklyn talking.*

6. Shovel in hand…

As idyllic as the setting seems to me now, obviously there were drawbacks. By the time I was five years old, we would relocate to a suburban home at the edge of a growing city, where schools expected more of their students, the community was more diverse and a patch of woodlands offered wildlife at the back door. But for a few years, my parents enjoyed the life they were building for their family in post-war rural America. Routines were clear-cut, whether it was housework or chemical research. They could depend on the small-town camaraderie of weekly BYOL card games with friends (bring your own liquor, sandwiches will be supplied). Herb was brilliant at ferreting out items they wanted that were scarce because of the war, like the toaster he bought on a business trip to Dayton, Ohio or the paper towel holder he found in Massachusetts. In those days he was deeply involved in improving the company’s DDT operation, which is a horrifying thought to me now. The role of chemicals in daily life was admired in mid-twentieth-century America – the negative connotations we tend to associate with many chemicals now came into the public eye later.

My father enjoyed every aspect of the analytical, practical approach of scientific research; he would rattle off names like Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane with the ease of an inner-city rapper. At work, he nursed chemical products though the manufacturing process and at home, he applied them to our lawn. In the early 50s, the mood in America was upbeat and the dangers of DDT weren’t as obvious as they would become later.** Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the book that delineated the negative effects of pesticides and was a springboard for the environmental movement, was not yet published. If my father had seen the link between the overenthusiastic application of DDT and its lethal impact on the environment when he was tasked with improving DDT efficiency and yields, what would he have done? I’m not sure.

7. A wasp or bee on Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota).

I do know that both my parents had an abiding appreciation for the outdoors. My own deeply held views of the value of nature evolved from the foundations they laid. It’s one of the ironies of life that our family, a family that reveled in activities like forest walks and back yard birdwatching, was supported by my father’s employment in the chemical industry.

8. Happy in the snow in Michigan.

One memory from those years in Michigan hovers darkly in my emotional brain. It involves the outdoors and photography, subjects that occupy substantial portions of my life now. I was about three years old. As I played naked in the grass with a friend one summer day, my father, thinking it was cute, took a picture. When I noticed him trying to hide with his camera, I felt uncomfortable and stopped playing. Of course, he meant no harm. The picture was added to the family photo album, but as soon as I was able, I took it out and tore it into pieces. That marked the end of a certain innocence most people enjoy as very young children – the pleasure of playing outdoors with little or no clothing coming between yourself and nature. I’m sure that loss was inevitable, but it was also the beginning of a lifelong discomfort with having my picture taken. It’s no coincidence that just as I don’t like having my picture taken, I don’t often take pictures of others. Maybe that leaves me with more energy to concentrate on photographing nature.

9. A tulip.

Most of my memories from those early years are positive, centering around simple sensory pleasures. In my biased view, living in a rural setting for the first few years of life was perfect for someone who came to value nature above all else. I was lucky to be born to a family that could provide what was needed, in a country that was not at war or chronically poverty-stricken, at a time of economic and political stability. Being free from hunger and hardship meant that I had the leisure to freely experience the pleasure of my surroundings. Every detail was an opportunity for investigation – even the little dried pellets of rabbit poop I picked up were interesting!

A passion for wide-open spaces must date back to those early days too. I vividly remember the feeling of wild abandon and exultant freedom that washed over me when I raced down a huge sand dune at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. With the vast blue expanse of Lake Michigan below, the landscape seemed endless. That exhilarating feeling would recur many times in the following years, and I’m grateful that we stopped at the dunes that summer. We must have been driving up to a summer cabin on the lake, a place for simple pleasures like fishing for perch from the dock. Family lore has it that I was more interested in playing with the worms than fishing, but I appreciate an anecdote that illustrates a tendency to subvert propriety.

10. Pink fawn lilies (Erythronium revolutum) at Kruckeberg Botanic Garden, Shoreline, Washington.

There was tragedy in those early years for my parents but they kept the pain to themselves, for better and for worse. My mother’s adored brother Pete, who had introduced her to my father and who was growing his own family a few doors away, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Though young and strong, no treatment could change the inevitable course of the disease and he died, leaving his young family, parents, and sister grieving. I don’t know how my mother coped with the loss of her only sibling; she rarely spoke about it. Her own intense pleasure in being outdoors and her love for all growing things must have helped ease the hurt. Caring for three kids under six at a time when dishes were done by hand and laundry was painstakingly hung to dry would have kept her busy, too. It must have been as distracting as a circus on some days. My father loved to recount the time when, at just over two years old, I wanted to see what he was doing up on the roof. So I climbed all the way up the ladder and continued across the shingles. He had the scare of his life when my head appeared at the peak of the roof. A neighbor was called (something that was easy back then) to help get me safely off the roof. I’m very curious. And I can be determined.

11. Left to right: my older brother, an unknown lion, my cousin, me, an unknown rabbit.

The journey from a simple delight in pretty flowers to my present interest in plants stretches through fields, forests, gardens, and conservatories, across temperate, tropical and alpine zones. That journey began in the middle of Michigan, then moved 500 miles east to Syracuse, New York.

More about that later.

12. Naturalized lupines somewhere in the Adirondacks, New York State.

***

*From an unpublished manuscript.

**There were a few early voices of concern about DDT. Wikipedia states that warnings were made in 1944, and again in 1947 by a doctor who lived in St. Louis, Michigan, the small town where we lived. DDT was a very important part of Michigan Chemical’s profit stream during the war years (it protected troops from malaria) and for a few years afterward. After we moved away, Michigan Chemical was bought out by Velsicol Chemical. Velsicol made fire retardants that were added to livestock feed in a damaging 1973 mix-up. High levels of DDT and other toxic chemicals lingered in the water and soil around the plant for decades – people are still warned not to eat fish taken downstream from the old plant site. The plant was shuttered in 1978, demolished in the 1980s and now the area contains four EPA Superfund sites. Dead birds were still being found with toxically high levels of a DDT derivative in their systems only six years ago.


79 comments

  1. Such a precious gift – the story of your life – part 1 of some more, I hope. It is kind of a tragic combination, your loving devotion to nature and the DDT-story. All so beautifully decorated with great photos taken by you and touching old originals from your family’s history.
    I read and watched everything several times, more and more touched by the beauty of this very personal document.
    Overwhelming: the lupines!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Those lupines – that was amazing! I was there at the perfect time. πŸ™‚ I appreciate your thoughts, Ule. It wasn’t easy to write, in fact, the beginning of the project sat in my drafts folder for 2 or 3 years. The DDT story was something I had not really thought about before. I read a memoir my father wrote, which prompted me to do some research. That got me thinking about what a strange irony it is, his work and my beliefs. We used to argue about the role of chemicals in society when I was a teenager but naturally, the arguments were unsatisfactory for both of us. I don’t know when I’ll continue the story but I’m glad I left you wanting more. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for being here.

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      • Teenage is the usual time for questioning the parents’ believes and way of making of a living, right?
        There is a second period of life when we go into such thoughts: when we get old and view our own life decisions, maybe have found (or are still looking for) more tolerance for our parents. That’s when we often have to lead the discussion in our mind without them being with us any more in real life. Hoping for new answers in vain.

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  2. Thank you Lynn, for this personal insight to your life and family history and to your love for nature, plants and flowers. The pictures from you as a toddler are lovely πŸ™‚ I love the first one, in the garden and #8 – so cute! It is interesting, when, where and how our love for special things are laid. What a lucky time for you growing up in the wild and far country outside the big cities. What a strange thing is this connection of the love for nature and your fathers job with DDT! But probably these things happen in families more often than we think. I suppose it was a great new product then and who wanted to question such a “useful thing”? I read the article and it is shocking how big the amount of poison still is today. They didn’t do a good job about it. – I love the bouquet of flowers from the countryside! I think I mentioned it before, one can feel your love for nature, for the flowers, in your pictures. The iris is awesome as the other stilllifes are! And I love, I really do, the wild Lupines! I think it is the mixture of “garden flowers” and the wilderness. Unsurpassed πŸ™‚ I am looking forward to your upcoming post! Good night πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you, Almuth – that photo in the snow is fun, isn’t it? You must be right. Strange ironies or coincidences like my devotion to nature and my father’s work on DDT probably are much more common in families than we know. Interesting! You’re right about the early enthusiasm for DDT. It was a miracle product, almost like antibiotics, because it killed mosquitoes that caused malaria. But no one realized how long the chemicals would persist in the environment and what harm they would do there, that was the big problem. I’m glad we didn’t live near that plant for very long!
      Your insight about what’s appealing about the last photo really makes sense – the scene feels like a wild place, but not quite, or like a wild place that was “decorated” with garden flowers. I think in that region it’s possible that some garden lupines have crossed with native lupines – I don’t even know if the lupines in this photo are the wild species or not. Thank you for being here, and expressing your reactions and thoughts. I hope the market wasn’t too quiet! πŸ™‚

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      • Your childhood photos ARE fun πŸ™‚ – Too often we develop new products without looking for the consequences. Lets talk about plastic! – I love wild Lupines or Lupines growing wild πŸ˜‰ They look so special in a wild surrounding, maybe more than other flowers. – The market day was very busy! I was surprised… Have a good week and take care!

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        • Plastics – after my father left that company he worked in one that made plastics. πŸ˜‰ I’m not kidding. Lupines, those wild plants that like to grow in the wild, or maybe not. πŸ˜‰ I’m glad the market was busy – I think!

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  3. What a fascinating walk through your early life, Lynn. No wonder you love the outdoors and plants so much.

    Yes, the effects of DDT are horrific to us environment lovers now, but like many artificial substances, our parents and grandparents probably only used what was considered effective with little thought as to their safety. I know my younger brother caught my elderly father spraying the blackberries once and my brother stated quite clearly and firmly they were not to be used on his 10-acre ‘hobby’ farm.

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    • Thank you, Vicki, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Very few people were aware of the dangers of certain chemicals back then. It’s funny that many years later at a different chemical company where my father was working, he received safety awards for running the division with best safety record in the company. So he was very safety conscious. From today’s perspective, it’s hard to imagine how someone so focused on safety could have worked to improve DDT – go figure!

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  4. To summarize the first paragraph: still life is an un-still life. But un-still until when?
    #9 is quite an original picture of a tulip. Good for you.
    I can’t resist trading you for #8.
    On our way to Toronto last summer we wanted to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore but reservations in nearby places to stay were hard to get and priced sky-high. Another time, we hope.
    Looking forward to your story’s continuation.

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    • Well, Steve, I’d say un-still for a good many more years, I hope!
      I’m glad you liked #9 – tulips are good subjects, so simple. And like lots of flowers, they sometimes fade very gracefully.
      It’s too bad it was hard to find a reasonable place to stay around Sleeping Bear Dones. It must have been very different back in the 50s. I think the humble little summer place we stayed in back then has also changed completely. Oh well! Thanks for your thoughts. πŸ™‚

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  5. Wonderful post, Lynn, so interested to hear about your and your family’s background – including the Welsh connection! – and so good to see the old family photographs too – well done you, for getting them onto digital and out to us all! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you, Adrain. I have my older brother to thank for digitizing many of the family photos. It’s a bit of a leap to put all of this “out there” but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I hope you’re back on the mend and will stay away from anything risky. πŸ˜‰

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    • There are so many possible ways to tell your story when you think about it – your own wonderful series comes to mind. Not autobiographical, but it was another way to present a person’s life. A version of this sat in the drafts folder for 2 or 3 years. Finally, I did something with it, but I’m not sure how soon I’ll feel like diving in again. πŸ˜‰ Thanks, Howard!

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  6. I’m so glad you shed any reservations and ‘put this all out there’ as you’ve said in an earlier comment Lynn . Such different times and attitudes about the environment … progress … choices … these throw up exactly the same dilemmas right now …
    I loved seeing your early childhood photos hearing of connections and thoughts about your passion for nature πŸ™‚ I wonder what the occasion was in the last dressing up photo ? All so cute πŸ˜‰
    Those lupins are glorious I’ve found these very short lived in my garden and have given up on them but love their variety of colours and stateliness . All in all a great post … I do hope part 2 3 … are in the pipeline πŸ˜‰
    Take care now it’s a difficult time for everyone x

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    • It’s good to hear this was a valuable thing to do in your eyes, because I had my doubts, as I’m sure you understand. That photo of us kids in costumes must have been for Halloween.
      I wonder about the lupines – it was at a place that’s far from where I lived at the time so I don’t know what the story was with them, but I think they probably naturalized in that area. For whatever reason, they’re happy there and maybe they reseed a lot? I don’t know. Lupines are so beautiful, aren’t they? And there are so many different wild species, it’s amazing.
      As for more of the story, I’ll have to be in the mood. The way I write, there’s so much checking and rewriting, it’s exhausting. I have pieces of it done, and a few more photos from the next time period. I’ll need to tell myself it doesn’t have to be comprehensive, just hit the high spots, as they say. πŸ˜‰ I’m being careful – we used to live around the corner from the USA COVID-19 outbreak epicenter, a nursing home. I saw clients there as a social worker. But I retired and we moved north a year and a half ago, to a less populated area. Still, the virus is nearby. You be careful too, and tell that pal of yours to take care. No traveling right now, but we will dream. Thanks for the good words. πŸ™‚

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  7. Loved your post Lynn – how interesting to see how our destinies are shaped and what influences them. Also interesting that you and I have such parallels in life. My dad was a chemical engineer and moved my mother from her family in Washington DC to a small town in upstate NY. He was an absolute nature lover and never missed an opportunity to share his enthusiasm for the mountains, rivers and plants that surrounded us. From him I learned to love nature in all its glory which had a large impact on my related love of photography. Speaking of which, your tulip and lily images are simply stunning!

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    • Interesting! I didn’t get to that part of the story yet, but my father was a big nature lover as well, which certainly influenced me. They retired to western NC so they would enjoy good weather, reasonable costs and plenty of hiking. πŸ™‚ I’m sure you get that. I’m curious about what NY town you lived in now. πŸ™‚ Your description of your father’s enthusiasm is really nice…thanks so much for commenting, Tina, and stay safe and enjoy the weekend.

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      • Thinking of pic #3, I’m struck by the profound loveliness of that fading image. What these photographs mean now has little to do with the intention of the photographer (your mother, in this instance?) The process becomes a serendipitous mediation on impermanence and mortality.

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        • Was that a typo -mediation should have been meditation – or intentional? It’s hard for me to see the photo in the broader context you see. It’s so personal, it’s me, and I tend to take it literally. But you’re right, there’s more than one way to look at it (like any image) and I appreciate your take on it. πŸ™‚ (More likely my father, as he was always the family photographer).

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  8. For those who do not appreciate taking photos (themselves or others), the decision to make this post was certainly not linear. A photo of someone always reveals something that is unknown. Ours too. Sometimes we have to overcome internal barriers and I believe that this post, so different from the majority for exposing such personal images and facts was an “adventure”.
    The result is important, because it confronts us with the subjectivity of the discoveries of each era and, on the other hand, it reveal certain details from children that, one day, will be consistent, genuine and very personal.
    We look forward continuing this journey through your life and our nature.

    Finally, I didn’t know that there were lupines of various colors. I only know those who give yellow flowers, planted in the fields to make them richer in nitrogen. And then they supply us with their seeds, which the portuguese, and probably other people too, love to eat with beer. But only after being cooked and after many washes to eliminate less good substances.
    Thanks for sharing and for the beautiful pictures!

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    • Such a perceptive comment, Dulce, thank you so very much. Yes, there are at least two of those barriers – the internal one that stems from childhood experiences and a professional one. I was trained as a social worker never to reveal anything about my personal life. I never liked that rule and didn’t follow it very well. It’s one of the reasons I was happy to retire, so I could be more open in my blogging. Lives are so interesting, aren’t they? πŸ˜‰
      About lupines – for years I only knew the blue and lavender ones. It wasn’t until I moved to western North America that I began seeing yellow ones, but for you, that is what you see all the time. Funny, right? It makes sense that they would add nitrogen to the fields since they’re in the legume family but I had no idea that the seeds were eaten – interesting! Thanks for telling me. Take care, eat well and stay safe. πŸ™‚

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  9. Thank you for this enthralling peek into your family history, Lynn. Your writing is terrific. (Makes me yearn for a fuller recording of mine.) Your images threaded throughout your story add a visual beauty. That curious kid examining a flower and the happy toddler in the snow. I keep going back to your exquisite black and white tulip. πŸ™‚ Stay well and stay close to nature, friend.

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  10. I think your tale is off to a great start, Lynn. The autobiographies I’ve enjoyed, always seem to balance the factual content with the psychological, and even the imagined, as you try to recapture your thoughts at the time, and then convey them to others. And it looks like you’ve got the hang of that. I saw your comment, that you’ve got to be in the mood, and that it’s an exhausting process, and I don’t doubt either of those things, but I hope you’ll dive back in when the spirit moves you, it’s being very interesting.
    DDT has been a horror in many ways, but I was glad to see your mention of using it to protect soldiers from malaria (my grandfather told me, they also used to pour diesel fuel into every crater or big pothole, for the same reason, to kill of mosquitoes). The people who made it, perhaps wanted to turn a blind eye to the terrible side effects, but I’ve seen a lot of articles from that period, and they were also hopeful of feeding the whole world, by protecting crops from insect pests. Everything in the past is subject to retroactive critique, and I’m sure our time will come. Pennsylvania, where a lot of my family was from, is full of slate dumps and gob piles, acid runoff, etc. but they were glad to have a steady coal-mining job during the Depression, even if it killed a lot of them off pretty young.
    Well, you’ve found some great old photos, nice to see the lions, rabbits, and pixies all sitting down together. I’ve never seen a pink fawn lily, wow! And the lupines in the Adirondacks are beautiful, too. Looking forward to the next installment!

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    • That makes sense about a balance between “factual” and psychological content (how much is ever really factual in memoirs?). And I’m pleased that you put me in the middle of the continuum and not way over at one end. I will try to dive back, I promise. You’re right about DDT, and I’m sure that describes how my father felt. Plus, he describes in his own memoir, without which I couldn’t have done this one the way I did, how everyone at the small company was in it together, all of them doing a variety of jobs and all wanting to see success. He later worked in much bigger corporations and hated many aspects of how they worked, which I didn’t really put together until recently.
      Yes, we lions and rabbits and others sat down for that picture, but we were often fighting. πŸ˜‰ Oh well. Those fawn lilies were incredible – I was there at the perfect time – magical. And same with the Adirondack lupines. Cheers, Robert, I hope all is well with you.

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  11. Pingback: Adjusting to Changes | Zeebra Designs & Destinations

  12. Thank you for interspersing these beautiful images of flowers with flashbacks to your childhood! πŸ™‚ These photographs of your family and childhood must be so precious now.

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    • You’re right, and thankfully my brother put most of them on CD’s a while back. That must have been a big job! I’m glad you enjoyed this format, Ian, and one of these days I’ll get around to doing more. πŸ™‚

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  13. Looking forward to Part Two, and Three, and Four, and Five, etc., etc. So interesting how your life has become a counterpoint to the work your father did.

    This post recalls a story a good friend of mine once told me about her childhood in Montana: She and her friends would actually romp in the white spray that followed the DDT trucks. Who knew? She later developed breast cancer, and also pancreatic cancer, but managed to survive both. She was able to recount this without a trace of bitterness or
    resentment which impressed me greatly.

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    • That is quite a story! Especially that she didn’t fill herself with resentment. As for more posts on this ever-present subject – πŸ˜‰ – I’ll need the inspiration and the patience to get through all the rewrites. Thanks Alan. I hope all’s well in Mass…

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  14. What a wonderful post! The weaving of autobiographical, botanical and wider historical stories is gripping. The DDT part is sad for the wildlife and ecology in general, but it’s always interesting to consider how and why those demonized products were developed. Many of the effects, like saving soldiers from malaria, were very good. But one can’t help but wonder who knew the hazards and when.

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    • I’m so pleased to read your comment, Sheri, thank you. There’s a longer one that sat in my drafts folder for two years….then I realized I could break it up and began rewriting…and rewriting…The process took a while but I’ve always wanted to do a hybrid memoir of some kind, so hopefully, I’ll keep going. Your encouragement is appreciated! And stay safe – I hope all is well.

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  15. Oh, Lynn…we hardly knew ye. But knowing you better is and will be an enjoyable journey. It is good to learn of your “roots” with plants and the outdoors. And although you can’t find that one picture, all the others are wonderful and I am envious as we have none of our childhood.
    There isn’t much good to say about DDT although at the time it was thought the best way to control possible disease and loss of food supplies. We owe a lot to Rachel Carson but in a way also to your father and the scientists who thought they were doing their best for us. Hindsight is a great thing but so is foresight and at that time they believed they were doing the right thing. I hold no grudges against those who tried for the better, but do so for those who discover and hide the truth for profit. I just read Alan’s (nice to know you have another fan in MA) comment above and think his friend felt the same about the scientists.

    I am looking forward to the next installment and all that follow. I am very impressed with your writing, not just now but in all your posts, and will enjoy reading of Lynn, the “middle” years. πŸ™‚

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    • Those old photos are valued, Steve – I’ve known people throughout my life who had no photos or memorabilia from their earliest years, so I’ve always appreciated them. But you have your memories, and maybe you should jot a few down. πŸ˜‰ You’re right, my father worked really, really hard and believed in what he was doing – until he was a “prisoner” of corporate culture in his later working years. He much preferred the smaller setting where everyone believed in what they were doing and felt and equal enthusiasm for the cause – even if turned out badly much later. Thanks so much for your comments, Steve. The next installment may take a while, we shall see. Right now there are amazing things happening outside! πŸ™‚

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  16. I love the gentle passion in your words, Lynn, as you reveal some of the intimacies that helped make you who you are today. It’s no wonder that you’re so driven toward the out of doors…no wonder at all.

    Thank you for the post…for the insight.

    Very nicely done.

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  17. Thank you for sharing your story and photos Lynn! Your connection with flowers and plants surely comes across in your words and images. Your B&W tulip, #9 is stunning! The fawn lilies image is also wonderful. I love the placement of the specular highlight right behind the stamen. NICE!

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    • Thank you, Denise. The idea of a visual plus narrative memoir has been percolating for a while. This one is scaled down for the internet. πŸ˜‰ I’m pleased with that tulip, too! πŸ˜‰ And the little fawn lilies happened to be at peak bloom just when the light was perfect – all I had to do was scrunch way down and open the aperture wide. πŸ™‚ I trust that living where you do, keeping healthy isn’t too difficult. take care!

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  18. Ahhh… I so admire what you did here. The beautiful interplay of your life story with the beautiful images to enhance it. What a pleasurable read this was in times when our physical space has narrowed to an extreme.

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    • Thank you, Gunta, I really appreciate that. Some day I’ll get around to doing another installment, but probably not right awy. The blogging community is a refreshing place to be, isn’t it?

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  19. Oh it was so lovely to read something about you and your early life. I look forward to more.
    Flowers will never be a trite subject in my world! My next blog post will be about flowers πŸ™‚
    Hope you are well.
    Alison

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    • πŸ™‚ No, never trite, but I guess in some hands, representations of them can be. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Alison, and I look forward to your next post, for sure! We’re OK so far – you take care, too.

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  20. Heartfelt tender and makes connections to your narratives and appreciation of nature and flowers…it snowing here…ahhh yearning those greens and pinks Lynn πŸŒ·πŸ’• hoping you’re safe and well ~ hugs Hedy πŸ€—

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    • Snowing, well, it just goes on and on, doesn’t it? And now you can’t escape to a different climate, but you’re creative enough to figure something out, I know it. We’re OK, but I confess, the best espresso place is gone for a while and I miss it. πŸ™‚

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