JUST ONE: Maidenhair Fern…

AND THOUGHTS ON AMERICA’S HISTORY OF RACISM

Last night and the night before I watched violence in the streets of Seattle on TV as events unfolded before the eyes of the public. Live news coverage of protests continued for hours, but it only took a few minutes for me to feel depressed, weary, exhausted, and hopeless. A reporter made the point that these protests – or was that even the right word for burning cars and looting? – looked different from Seattle’s 1999 WTO protests, when a World Trade Organization meeting was confronted with tens of thousands of protesters blocking delegates’ access and an overwhelmed, unprepared police force. That time, protestors had a clear target: globalization. In contrast, there was a randomness to these protests; as a woman expressed disappointment that her planned, peaceful demonstration had been hijacked, looters ran behind her with North Face jackets over their arms and cars went up in flames.

Underpinning it all, the driver of the current crop of violence and protests is our long history of racism, a history that, in my mind, we have not even begun to address. No wonder George Floyd is dead, no wonder Trayvon Martin lost his life. No wonder Eric Garner is dead, no wonder Ahmaud Arbery lost his life. The list goes on and on, back to the men and women who died on slave ships on their way to what – the promised land? Our country hasn’t faced what we did and keep doing, we haven’t made restitution, we have turned away. The turning away is profound and results in so much loss – loss of life, loss of dignity, loss of possibility.

I grew up in profound ignorance of this part of America’s story. Surely there were discussions of slavery in our grade school history lessons, but in our all-white classroom it wouldn’t have seemed very real. I don’t remember even seeing a person of color until I was ten, when we traveled from our quiet, upstate New York neighborhood to southern Georgia. My eyes were wide as we drove past a black woman weaving baskets for sale by the side of the road. My heart leaped at the sound of a quartet of black men singing spirituals on a sultry night. My mind puzzled over a black woman baking biscuits for her white employer’s family and my grandfather’s racist remarks. I longed to understand what seemed like a different reality. And different it was, because of the legacy of white culture’s investment in slavery.

After I left home my understanding of the other reality that was black America took shape down a rocky road of close friendships, interpersonal violence, even a drowning. I was deeply entangled in a fraught inheritance as victim, and on some level, as perpetrator. I’m far away from those times now but many incidents left deep scars on my psyche. Often it seems there’s no making sense of any of it. That’s the despair talking. That’s how I felt watching TV last night.

Retreating into a pretty world of graceful plants – and the Maidenhair fern certainly fits that bill – is tempting but I couldn’t simply proceed with this post as if nothing else was happening. Between racism, the pandemic and a changing climate, there is much to mourn today. Making sense of it seems impossible but we need to make the effort. And we need to turn away at some point, if only to breathe. Yes, I used that word “breathe” intentionally. George Floyd literally couldn’t breathe and so he died. We all need to breathe some better air. I offer this brief respite in the hope that you will come away from it breathing better, if only metaphorically. In Zen practice I learned the Three Precepts: to cease from evil, to do good, and to do good for others. In another iteration: to not create evil, to practice good and to actualize good for others. I see it as a continuum. We can at least try to place ourselves on it, somewhere, once we catch our breath.

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1.

And now to the lovely Maidenhair fern, which you may already know. It’s graceful fronds invite contemplation. They sway in the breeze on long, impossibly thin stalks, they shed rain but love wet places, they please the eye with the regularity of their patterns, like small green ladders in the woods, arrayed in circles.

2.

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The Maidenhair fern is sold as a garden plant and grows wild in many places – North America, China, the Andes, New Zealand, Europe – even Bermuda has its own Maidenhair fern. There are around 250 different species of Adiantum, a genus name that means unwetted, for the way water beads up on the leaves.

The species found in my area is called Adiantum aleuticum. Aleutian maidenhair fern ranges from Alaska to Mexico and is also found on the other side of the country, from Newfoundland to Vermont. I don’t remember where or when I saw a Maidenhair fern the first time. Maybe it was in a conservatory that I was first captivated by the graceful, delicate patterns of its leaves. Every time I find one my breath draws in sharply. Oh! A Maidenhair!!

There aren’t many colonies here on Fidalgo Island; we’re too dry for this moisture-lover. The few places I’ve found it growing here are rocky, wet cliffsides in shady locations. Further inland it can be found in rich, moist woods. Once I saw it entwined with Sword fern AND Lady fern – a trio of repeating patterns in bright green.

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5. Three different native ferns intertwine along a trail in Snohomish County, Washington.


6. Pendant Maidenhair fern fronds on a rocky bank along a rural road in Skagit County, Washington.


7. Maidenhair ferns growing in a cave near the beach at Shelter Cove, in Northern California.

8. A garden specimen unfurls delicate fronds in March at Kruckeberg Garden in Seattle.
9. A cultivated Maidenhair fern frond is nestled in a Hosta leaf at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle.

10. Masses of Maidenhair fern make a lush accent for the trees at Washington Arboretum in Seattle. Look carefully and you can see the difference between this cultivated fern and the native species.
11. Maidenhair ferns grow near a power plant at Newhalem, Washington, deep in the North Cascades.

12. I found this Maidenhair on a wet cliff at Multnomah Falls, along the Columbia River in Oregon.

13. These leaflets look exactly like tiny Gingko tree leaves! That’s what I love about this plant – the endless discoveries you can make when you study its form.

14. The colors have been altered in this photo but the stems often do have a purple cast.

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Fern reproduction is a complicated business. You probably know that ferns have spores rather than seeds. On many, but not all ferns, spores are carried on the undersides of the leaves and that’s the case with Maidenhair ferns. Sometime in summer, the margins of fertile leaflets curl under and spores begin to grow. Tiny, dust-like spores are piled in sori (from the Greek for ‘heaps’) also called fruitdots. The sori are covered by a thin membrane which is pushed aside once the spores are ripe. In the case of Maidenhair ferns, the membrane protecting the spores is simply the rolled edge of the leaflet. In some of these photos (e.g. #13 & 16) the rolled margins of leaflets can be seen – that’s where the Maidenhair fern hides it’s precious spores.

When they ripen, the spores will burst out of their cases and get blown around by the wind. Ferns produce prodigious amounts of spores and since there are so many, some are bound to land in just the right place. But spores don’t create ferns directly – first, there’s an intermediate stage, the gametophyte. A little hair anchors it into the soil and it grows, cell by cell, into a very small, heart-shaped body on which the sexual organs form. With a little moisture, male sperm will swim across to the female organs and eggs will be fertilized. An egg then develops a root, a stem, and finally, the first little leaf. Every time I read about fern reproduction I think, why can’t I find one of those little heart-shaped fern gametophytes? They’re just too small. My eyes are distracted by so many other things.

The fine, dark smooth stems of Maidenhair ferns have been used in basketry by North American tribes, and there was some medicinal use as well. In some European countries a sweetened syrup is made with Maidenhair fern leaves. Called Capillaire or Capile in Portugal, it’s been used in cocktails and to treat symptoms of illnesses like sore throats and bronchitis. The medicinal uses of Adiantum in Iranian traditional medicine are discussed in a recent scientific study. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses Adiantum plant species, too. And a Seattle-based school of herbalism and foraging is called Adiantum School of Plant Medicine.

A plant with such a wide distribution has probably had many other uses through the ages. For me, it’s enough to just look at it. This fern never fails to delight, no matter how many times I might see it.

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15. In October the fern’s leaves begin to turn gold.

16. By November Maidenhair fern has turned brown. The leaves will persist for months.
18. A piece of plant detritus has fallen onto a fresh frond in the woods.

19. At Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle, Maidenhair fern is used as a filler in plantings. Sometimes it escapes, as it did here, pushing through cracks in a display table.

20. Maidenhair fern drapes luxuriously over Camellias at Volunteer Park Conservatory.

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75 comments

  1. yes, in the midst of this rage (which challenges every one of us morally, whoever & wherever we are), we must still recognize what is beautiful, for that also exists — I am about to write a post & like you feel I must somehow acknowledge what is happening, I cannot appear as if i haven’t noticed, and yet… and yet I want to focus on something else that is also happening

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  2. Thank you for this sobering post, Lynn. It’s a true gift. You write so well and from the heart. The photographs are stunning. You have somehow made #1 look as if it is rendered in silver. I like the high key of #2—also the composition and selective focus—all three of which you are master. And I like how that photograph follows the first photograph: a nice contrast. Oh, #6: all that dark. Just so lovely. How tender the fern looks and how mothering the hosta in #9. I’m glad you showed the brown fronds in #12 and #13. (Love the brown curls in #13.) It’s one of your favorite things, isn’t it, in #16—a leaf caught by another leaf. Love the rusted objects in #17, made all the more interesting to look at with the nearby fresh-faced fern leaves hanging almost like wisteria. Never stop writing and photographing and blogging.

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    • Well, I’ve gone and changed the numbers on the photos because they weren’t numbered correctly, AND I added one that I meant to include but forgot in the rush to publish. Thankfully, your comment is specific enough that I know which photos you’re referring to. The rusted wheel (for opening the greenhouse windows, I think) was a photo I added with you in mind. The dying, brown leaves, we both recognize, are beautiful in their own right. I’m very grateful for all you say. It really does help to know what you think; I respect your opinion. Thank you!

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  3. (Oops: I just noticed that after #14 the numbering is out of order, and you have two pictures both claiming to be #13.)
    The good job you did with all the tonalities in #1 and #11 makes them a delight to look at.
    #2 and #12 have that infrared look about them.
    The left side of the second #13 reminds me of the symmetric twin samaras of maple trees.
    #16 is a reminder that in nature something of one kind can often be found fallen onto something of a different kind.
    What great complementary colors in #17.
    I’m surprised that an island so close to Olympic National Park’s temperate rainforest would be too dry for maidenhair ferns. I’d have thought central Texas drier, and yet the southern maidenhair fern is an Adiantum species that’s native here, even in my neighborhood nature park. The species name is capillus-veneris, meaning hair of Venus. I’ve often found botanical namers to have active imaginations.

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    • Thank you for pointing the numbering out – wow, it was way off. I added another photo and fixed the numbers, I hope. 😉 You’re probably right about the infrared, an effect I like and work in via Lightroom or Silver Efex. Even with the numbering changed I think I know what you mean by the resemblance to maple samaras – that’s a good observation. I like the way you put this – “something of one kind can often be found fallen onto something of a different kind.” One of these days I’ll do a “Caught” post – I have dozens of photos with that keyword, which I began adding a few years ago, once I realized I have an affection for those scenes. Our island isn’t entirely too dry for Maidenhair but it’s mostly not a good place for them. We’re on the edge of the Olympic rainshadow. On the Olympic Peninsula, the Olympic Mountains hold lots and lots of rain on their west side as it moves in from the Pacific. Those clouds dump what they have, and by the time they get over here (if they do), there isn’t much moisture left. One town in the rainshadow (Sequim) is famous for lavender farms, so that tells you something! Their annual precip is 16″ but 58 miles away in Forks, near the western foot of the mountains, the annual rainfall is 119″ and in the Hoh Rainforest, closer to the mountains, it’s 140″. Ours is 26″.
      http://www.olympicrainshadow.com/olympicrainshadowmap.html

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  4. Your sensitive thoughts on the violence now grabbing space in the streets deeply touch me, dear Lynn, especially your memories of the past, your personal past.
    How much frustration and continuing injury must have been building up pressure in human souls to explode in such destructiveness now. Understandable. Though unexpected as always when things happen, that could have been foreseen.
    I’m deeply sorry for you all who have to suffer from history and human meanness now.

    Nature is the place for consolation, just for a moment, for an illusion, and I follow you willingly to the land of enchanting maiden fern. This time, my eyes and heart respond the strongest to the lighter versions. They fit so delicately to the plant’s character. How did Linda Grashoff call you? “Master” of high key, composition and selective focus – yes, you are. And more, far more beyond that.

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  5. I think that racism is a fundamental constituent of the Human Condition, that is, that its in all of us. Most probably, I imagine, it started as a survival mechanism. This is NOT IN ANY WAY to say its desirable, but I think its there, and also I think its important for us to know its there. And two things to mention.

    First, I don’t know how precise the science is, but it appears there used to be several Hominid species on the Earth, not just one as now. But where we appeared, the others disappeared. Nearest to home, this appears to be true of ourselves and Neanderthal Man. And second, whereas we in the West are used to thinking of racialism as a black-white phenomenon, in Africa I have seen many such interactions between Africans; the Rwanda genocide is an example.

    As to America now, well we have a policeman murdering someone on camera. And I think that what really gets me about this is that, looking at that film, I receive the strong impression that this was not anything unusual to those police, that such brutality is a commonplace. To me, this is as deeply shocking as the death itself. I share your deep unease, Lynn.

    Not sure after all that if I can get onto your beautiful photos, my friend, but I really like 1, 2, 7, 11, 13, 14 and 15 – beautiful stuff! But 6 is ohhhh!, and 17 even more so.

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    • It’s very interesting to read your thoughts, especially since you spent so much time in Africa. Your impression of the mundane quality of brutality is interesting, too. It speaks to how deeply ingrained those attitudes are in some people. There have been many reports of policemen kneeling and linking arms with protestors, too, so change is coming. I think the rest of this year is going to be unusually rocky for this country and many others. It’s so good that we have this community, where we can buoy one another up when things get rough out there and we can be inspired.
      The numbering was off so some of the photos you mentioned aren’t what they were, in a manner of speaking. 😉 I added one, too. Just keeping you on your toes!! 😉 But I get the drift that you liked a lot of these images, and that is gratifying. Thank you!

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      • Yes, “unusually rocky” may well be right, and all compounded by an inept and totally out of his depth “president”. If he brings the tanks out, maybe we could see an American version of Tianamen Square … But as to your explanation of how the numbering in this post was “off”, well I found that there was really no alternative but to drink heavily. I remain, Your Servant, Ma’am, etc. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  6. Thank you for speaking your mind. I do not believe that we are genetically inclined to be racist but it is obvious that racism has been part of the culture of humankind for as long as the history books can remember. We are not inherently racist. It’s the culture. But we can change the culture. Not overnight, to be sure, and it won’t be easy, but it can be done.

    If I had to pick a favorite it would be the ferns coming out of the dark like fingers.

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  7. You did good.. Very beautiful series Lynn! Nr2 and Nr9 are amazing shots!

    Humans should realize that they are unique individuals, that should have their own ethics and not that of others; or even worse: other groups. I always liked: “Do not do unto others what you do not want done to yourself” Confusius, 551 BC–479 BC.. Have a nice day anyway.

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  8. I hope that focusing on your ferns made you feel better, Lynn. I have only observed this at a distance and mostly through blogging friends but there is no easy way to understanding. On either side, seemingly. Like yourself, a person of colour was someone never encountered in my youth. And yet my Dad, the most mild mannered gentleman you could hope to find, never spoke well of them. In our uncertain world it should be a time to work together. If only it were possible.

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    • There’s no doubt that getting outdoors always makes me feel better, and working on photos is a pleasure, too. In fact, even the act of writing about what I was feeling made me feel better. Let’s hope working together IS possible. Thanks for your thoughts, Jo.

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  9. Thank you for the reminder to breathe. I try to avoid the news, but of course one can’t altogether. And so I breathe. And soak up your beautiful photos of my favourite fern. So delicate. I don’t see it here much on my forest walks. Lots off sword fern though.
    Alison

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  10. This is a strong contrast today in your post. I appreciate your personal words, which are very touching. I think I will rather refer to this in an email. It is a bitter topic! – For today I prefer to turn to the fern 🙂 As you write, we need moments to breathe. The photos are wonderful! My favorites are 4 (the left one – I love it), 6, 8, 9, 10 and and and. I think I love almost everyone from this post. The details in form and color are marvellous. What a variety in such a small plant. The different states and shapes of the year are so nice too. The fern in the Hosta is very artistic. So awesome! Then the countless leaves in picture #10 – like feathers and as tender as in # 8, thanks to your good eye 🙂 I love #15, the colors of autumn together with the other leaves. I love structures, as in your blackandwhite photos, but I love colors even more and so my absolutely favorite picture apart from #4 is the last one. It includes two of my favorite colors: pink and yellow-green. I just love love love it 🙂 Thank you for this moments of peace and joy you brought to us with the beautiful Maidenhair fern! Take care!

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    • Yes, it’s a big leap from the political talk to the Maidenhair fern, I know. A bit schizophrenic. #4 shows the growth habit very clearly. Most of the time there are other plants around that make it harder to see the beautiful circles of growth clearly. I was really happy to find that group. It’s an inspiring plant to work with! The last photo is so bright! It’s a very happy one, something we need these days, right? I’m guessing that you have not seen these ferns but I wonder if they use them somewhere in the botanical garden, maybe inside? Thank you Almuth, it’s good to hear your enthusiasm…I think you were cheering! Yea! 🙂

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      • I am not sure. I think I know this fern only as an indoor plant. I don’t think I ever saw it growing wild. It is in all forms and at every angle a beautiful plant and you made it visible with all the different photos and situations you met it. The last photo is really cheerful. Happy leavepetalrain 🙂 It is quite a hopeful plant, the way it finds a place to grow almost everywhere or at least in special places like in #19 🙂 By the way, we have some rain these days, yeah!

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        • Another compound word! It’s raining leaf petals…a nice idea. The greenhouse plants must respond happily to the constant moisture, and the fact that we have an extremely dry summer here, with almost no rain in July and August, is probably why there aren’t more wild Maidenhair ferns on the island. I’m glad you had some rain! 🙂

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        • Maybe you can put a pot on a tree in front of your house. You can water it for 2 months, haha. Somehow it knows how to survive in your dry summer. Astonishing that not more plants can do it. Yes, happy rain – more please 🙂

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  11. Arrogance and evil versus humility and beauty …
    On one hand…the history, the time and above all, a profound lack of intelligence in the management of a big country in recent years, have led to the segregating, arrogant and aggressive spirit that the United States now lives. Really unbreathable…

    On the other hand … the humility of the fetus and this family of democratic and adaptable plants that spread their beauty over vast regions of the world. Really a deep and vital breath!
    Excellent this post and the both stories you share with us. Very current for the moment.
    And…as Portuguese, when I was young, I drank capilé refreshment several times … but I didn’t know its origin!
    Thank you for teaching me!

    The photos …. ohh…they are all wonderful !!

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    • You manage to make what I did seem a little less crazy. The topics are so different, but when you pair them up as opposites, that has a nice logic. I should have written to you for advice before I finished the post! 😉 And I like the way you tie both ideas to breathing – hard to breathe, easy to breathe. Brilliant, Dulce.
      I was thinking of you when I found out about capile. 🙂 Cool! Thank you for your comment. I send a grateful bow to you across land and water. 🙂

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  12. Dear Lynn, as I’m working with political news every day, your writing is such a relief. It shows the importance of personal experiences. It needs precise and personal words to describe the historical heft of the current conflict. Such words are far better than any usual political separation into good and bad. Beside your writings your fern pictures are also exceptional. I do and always did admire your eye für plants! Regards – Karl

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    • I have great respect for your opinion, Karl, so that means a lot. I do try to bring things back to what they mean to me, as specifically as possible. It’s too easy to speak in generalizations. Still, I am often reminding myself to be personal and specific, so this comment makes me feel good! And as for good and bad – well, that’s the currency of our sad “leader.” It’s such a simplistic way of framing the world and it always appeals to peoples’ worst, most primitive instincts and beliefs.
      Thank you too for mentioning the plants…this fern is a joy to work with, it’s so graceful. Have a good weekend!

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      • To me, this is one of the fascinating things with plants in general. They don’t have a meaning in themselves, except that one of growing and passing away. We have to find what we call beauty in them. And this is, how I see all of your pictures: A documentation of an exploration. With a grain of salt, you are standing on the shoulders of Alexander v. Humboldt. 😉

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        • You are far too kind, Karl, but of course, I’m happy to read that. Exploration has been a favorite idea snd subject since I was a grade school and learned about Balboa, Magellan, Columbus, etc. I don’t think Humboldt was part of those school lessons but later, every time I read about natural history explorers, my eyes lit up, so you hit a nerve. 🙂 Reviewing the Wikipedia entry about him prompted me to get a book about him (The Invention of Nature, Andrea Wulf). Thanks!

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  13. A touching, thoughtful, beautiful post. I’ve had to take moments to breathe too as the protests have raged across the country. I understand the anger, the enough-is-enough that is felt by so many. And millions of white-privileged eyes have suddenly opened to the systemic injustice and pain of racism that is sewn into the fabric of this country. I pray that we’ve encountered a turning point, and though the hard work of unpacking racism in all its forms has just begun, I have hope. (We can’t wait for the election, in more ways than one). And sublime photos! What a beautiful soothing treat. Thanks for the peace. ❤

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    • Yes, let’s hope this is a positive turning point. Lots of work ahead, as you said. But it will be a bumpy road ahead. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and thanks very much for commenting. I hope your weekend isenjoyable!

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  14. Oh! Those first two… You’ve done it! I am now a convert to black and white. However I’ll have to admit to not having a clue how you manage to create that sort of magic. What a juxtaposition to your essay in the introduction.

    It’s been hard finding that balance. There are times I sink into reading of the madness erupting all around. When I have my fill, I can count on your posts to bring some blessed relief. Thank you for that.

    It’s simply amazing what you can do with a fern… every one is outstanding, but the delicacy of .8 is delicious. I crown that one my official favorite!
    Stay well and healthy!

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    • You make me smile every time you comment about black and white images. I get your struggle to feel the beauty in them as you feel it in color. As far as technique goes, it has taken me a while to learn and of course, I’ve only begun. I use 3 different ways to get started: either I go right to Silver Efex Pro, which is very easy, just a click or two, and begin there (you have to download the program first), or I click on “Black and White” on the right-hand Basic panel in Lightroom, or I scroll through the choices in Lightroom’s left-hand panel under “Presets”, “B&W”. I always make more changes, but the presets can be good starting places. The LR presets can show you things in a photo that you didn’t notice before and give you ideas you might not have come up with.
      I admit this post has a harsh contrast between the images and the text. We all need balance, right? Isn’t it wonderful that we have this forum to exchange images on? And don’t you love Maidenhair ferns? Soon our woods will start drying up and things won’t be as lush as they are now so I’ve been taking advantage of this gorgeous spring as much as possible. You too, I think. 😉 Thanks Gunta!!

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    • Yes, it really is depressing, especially when people take advantage of the energy and do stupid things, like burning cars and looting businesses. There have been some good moments though – I’ve seen footage of white police chiefs kneeling with protestors and discussing the issues with them. So it’s not all bad. Thanks for stopping by and commenting – I appreciate it. Take care!

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  15. I’m late here, after almost a week away, but I have to support your eloquent expressions of the current situation. And your delicate treatment of the ferns is a real breath of artistic fresh air.

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    • Racism is a very complex subject.. Your personal journey illustrates the difficulties well. It is not a problem that can be solved by violent protest: violence (whether by protesters or the police) breeds retaliation, and often escalating violence. It does not provide a solution. I strongly agree with the Zen precepts – and your extended interpretation of them – in your concluding sentences.

      I also enjoyed the ferns – especially the first group in colour.

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  16. Lynn, you’ve created a very eloquent essay. Your idea of a continuum and a legacy, that’s a lot like how I conceive of all this, too. It’s daunting, isn’t it – such a long time we’ve been steeped in racism and prejudice, it seems to have permeated the soil of this country. And we often feel like “it’s the times we live in,” like history is a river sweeping us along, without a prayer of fighting the current. Last year was the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first shipload enslaved Africans, in Jamestowne, Virginia. Four centuries. For human beings, that is a long time, and the 13th Amendment was a century and a half ago, and here we are, wallowing in a reactionary trough. Well, recognizing our fraught inheritance, as you say, can’t be permitted to paralyze us, history is also about change and transformation, I believe, sometimes, progress.
    Well, your beautiful posts are a respite, and these maidenhair ferns have existed a lot more than 400 years! The fern fossils I’ve found in the coal region in PA, look more like cinnamon ferns (I think?) but I’m sure there’s maidenhair fossils, too. The leaves in #13 do look like tiny ginko trees! And I had no idea of the medicinal uses. The shots of them keeping company with other plants, 9 & 20, are just wonderful, in that last one, it looks like a freeze-frame of the leaves cascading over the flowers, suspended in mid-air, great!! The different greens and bronzes are lovely, but those B&W shots really are fascinating, the suggestion in #2 & 12 of swirling in a mysterious mist, and #10 almost like an array of chimes. And #11 shot is just hypnotic for some reason, don’t know why, I wonder how long I sat looking at it!?

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    • Yes, the very soil. Talk about eloquence, you have it in spades.
      I think Maidenhair ferns so go especially far back…wow, it would be cool to find one! I’m glad you like them “keeping company with other plants.” I see so many beautiful garden compositions in nature. Well. #9 was actually in a garden but that happened on its own, I would say the last one did too. Those gardeners have just learned that this is a good plant to encourage and so they do, and it runs rampant. The mysterious mist in #12 is thanks to a blur vignette tool in Color Efex. 😉 Very useful as long as you don’t overdo it. Ah, it’s so gratifying to read your reactions to the post, Robert. I’ve said it before…thank you for being here, and for paying attention.

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  17. Well done, and Thank you Lynn. As a fellow blogger I am struggling with where even to begin this week. How to post a lovely connection with nature when the country is upside down? So, bravo to you for putting words into the world. I’m still working on mine.

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    • Oh, I get it, Jean. The Maidenhair fern post was in my mind to do last week but I couldn’t ignore what was going on. It took me a while to put it together and it’s a bit of a whiplash, with the text and images being so different. But it is what it is and I think it worked out OK. I have no doubt that you will find a good solution to the dilemma of where to begin, and then you’ll take it somewhere interesting. 🙂 Your honest comment is appreciated, it really is.

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  18. Regarding racism; I really thought things were getting better. Then the Orange One showed up and started turning over rocks, and all the hidden racism decided it was ok to assert itself again. Hopefully, all the protests will be a wake up call.

    Regarding the ferns, every shot a winner. Literally. How did you manage 20 and not a ho-hum in the bunch?

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    • I think there’s a lot more work to do in this country, but I agree that having Trump in office has seriously, and at times tragically exacerbated existing problems. Yeesh!
      You said such a nice thing about the photos. 🙂 You know, I’ve been looking at these ferns for a long time. I photograph them whenever I see them, so – let’s see – search the keyword “Maidenhair” in my LR program and you get 96 images! Enough to choose from! 😉 Thanks Dave, I appreciate the good words.

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  19. Thank you for the respite. We need that inspiration of beauty in these dire times. Racism exists everywhere, but it has always baffled me how prevalent it is and always has been in the States. As you say, it’s something that the society as large hasn’t addressed at all. And it’s so sad and demoralizing when one casualty after the next is suffocated under racism. To no end – so far.

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    • So far, change has been barely visible but maybe there really is going to be more progress this time. It feels like it. I don’t expect miracles but making some structural changes and keeping the issue in the news will help. I’m glad you enjoyed the respite that the images are here for people. Thanks for letting me know, Otto, and take care!

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  20. Today my mental well-being needs a break from all that is going on in the world and I promised myself I would step away. With that, I will get right to this wonderful collection of lovely fern images. I really like the first 2 … one low-key, one high-key. The circular pattern in 2 and light, airy feeling are beautiful. The delicate color and unfurling subject in 8 is another favorite. 9 is beautifully captured and the light tones work so well with this discovery and capture. I can’t go without mentioning 19 … I do ‘lust for rust’ (as I titled one of my posts long ago) … such a nice contrast between the heavy rusty table and the delicate fern. Fantastic work as always Lynn!

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    • We really have to dole out the news in careful doses these days, right? It’s good to hear that you enjoyed the post and especially good to read your specific comments. Re #2 (and 8, 9, etc.): it tends to be on the dark side here, between the high latitude limiting sunlight and all the tall trees creating lots of shade, so sometimes I really feel a need to let more light in. “Lust for rust” – that’s another one of your great titles…it can be such a nice subject. It was funny to be focusing on things like that in the conservatory when everyone else was snapping pics of the flowers. 😉 Thank you!

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  21. While I find all the images great, I am particularly drawn to the rock abstracts. They are so unique and intriguing! I can’t help but think they would make a fantastic series.

    We have also opened up a good deal in or state but I have to say that at this point (maybe it’s part of being in the ‘high risk’ over 60 crowd) I just don’t feel comfortable sitting down in a coffee shop or restaurant. Maybe that’s hypocritical since I fly for work, but at least for that I feel like it is for something useful and I wear an N95 mask the whole time. Who knows when things will feel normal again, perhaps when there is an effective vaccine available. We will see. In the meantime at least there aren’t crowds in the places I photograph, at least not on weekdays.

    Always enjoy these posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think this comment was for the following post, which I know you were having trouble replying to, due to some WP glitch. Hopefully, that was a one-time thing. Thanks for going the extra mile and commenting over here, Howard. I guess I would sit down outside – if it ever warms up enough! 😉 But I’d hesitate to sit in a restaurant indoors, too, for now. We all do what we can and what we need to do. Safe travels and happy wandering! 🙂

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  22. Humans are complex creatures, even when we think we are simple. We are all born into this world with certain physical characteristics and then society teaches us what is desirable and what isn’t. We all should be considered as valuable members of our societies but too many for a variety of reasons, insecurity being a chief one, project our feelings onto others as prejudice. One would hope that as time goes by we’d learn to be better than our prejudices and many are but many are not and it doesn’t take a great number of unpleasant people to wreak havoc. Of course, some of us are just born with a meanstreak, but most behavior is learned. And, sadly, we had fooled ourselves into thinking things were getting a little better regarding racism in this country. I live in a fairly liberal part of the country and the majority of people try to be better citizens but for African-American members of society there is always something in the background waiting to make their lives difficult. I am not sure the violence is helping, but it sure has got everyone’s attention and sometimes quiet words just don’t do what we hope they would. I don’t condone the violence but I can understand people lashing out. It is a shame that there are some who would use that to create chaos and take away the good that the peaceful protests are trying to spread. It is depressing, but there is also hope as many more people, businesses, and government officials are taking note and trying to do what they can to promote improvement. Hopefully we will eventually outnumber those who don’t want progress and wish to see the “other” kept down and they will crawl back where they were and allow the country to heal.

    I had a different, although not very, experience growing up. I lived in cities with diverse ethnicity and backgrounds. But the majority of my classmates were white middle class. I did have some black friends but most were white and I never really got to know much of anything about what life was like for someone in a minority. And no matter how much we might try to learn, we just cannot know the reality of other people’s day to day existence and how easily, especially in the case of African Americans, their sense of peace can be destroyed by some idiot yelling a nasty epithet out the car window as it drives by..

    This is a wonderful collection of Maidenhair fern images, Lynn. We all need a place for respite and to recharge our determination to fight for better things. Nature is a good place to escape. Thanks for both aspects of this post, Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank YOU, Steve, for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment. I see the same sensitivity that you bring to your photography here. It will be interesting to see how things evolve after today’s increased recognition of Juneteenth, a holiday that has never had the kind of attention it’s getting now. Thanks again!

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