MINOR DEITIES

Their flowers long

gone,

water lillies gently

wave

sun-shaped leaves

on dark water.

Stems’  crescent curves

emerge –

roots somewhere

in the mud

below.

Nymphaea odorata:

crowds of once fragrant

water nymphs,

still cavorting,

giving shape to

formless

water.

***

And cattail leaves –

inked scribbles,

reflected back to sky.

Nymphaea odorata is the Fragrant Water Lily. Nymphaea recalls Greek myths of nymphs, minor female nature deities associated with certain places, including bodies of water. Odorata, of course, refers to the fragrance.

The photos were taken on a late fall afternoon at Sammamish Slough in Marymoor Park, outside of Seattle.  Slough, pronounced slew is, in the Northern US and Canada, a slow moving, shallow body of water, often swampy or marshy.

The Sammamish people lived here long ago. “Meander dwellers” is one possible translation of the name. They were a small tribe, and after whites arrived in the area, though they resisted, between smallpox and the whites’ superior weapons they were removed to reservations along with other tribes.

Though the park is now full of mostly white dog walkers and sports enthusiasts, I’m sure some of us who wander the slough, in a quiet moment, can feel ourselves back into a time before our food was purchased at stores, a time when our senses were quickened by the sight of a passing bird, the fragrance of a wildflower, the ripple of a zephyr over the water.

Gray Day, Greenhouse

These photos were taken at the University of Washington Greenhouse, a facility primarily used for research. A local photography club I belong to made an arrangement with the manager, and we had a few hours amidst the collections on Sunday. The actual research areas were off limits.

The orchid on the top is Epidendrum nocturnum. The bottom orchid is a Bulbophyllum orchid; I don’t know which one. And the third photo is Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides, an epiphytic plant that anyone who’s spent time in America’s southeast knows well. I intentionally moved the camera on a long shutter speed for the second shot.

It was good to let gray skies disappear and lose myself in the tropics…a poor person’s vacation.

SONY DSC

I can’t resist adding a few more – the greenhouse door from the inside;

a water lily (Nymphaea caerulea);

intertwined tropical leaves;

one of many hungry Nepenthes, a carnivorous plant fed with leftover caterpillars from research projects;

a posy of candy-colored Passionflowers floated in a bowl of water (like what my grandmother used to do with her rhodos!);

and a large tropical leaf shot from underneath (yes, the black dot is a bug). They maintain a very delicate balance in the greenhouse. Hopefully there are not so many pests that plants are destroyed, but not so few that bugs are absent. Natural pest control, not the sterile conditions that heavy use of chemical pest deterrents would create, is the goal.