Normally we would all be sweating to get our tax returns (or extensions) filed in the US today – but hey, thanks to that little pandemic thing, we get another 32 days!
So instead, let’s look at what pops out of the ice plant growing along the chain link fence at the edge of our property.
Yes, they really, really are that bright!
They only bloom for a few days around this time of year.
The bees love them – surprisingly to me, the hummingbirds don’t seem to ever touch them.
I figured that before the invention of hummingbird feeders (and, you know, humans) the little buzzbombs would have feasted on something like this!
If so, then they’re doing it in an extremely stealthy fashion.
Where was I before I went off on a rant? Flowers or birds? Lizards?
Not from Texas. These are next to the driveway.
The first of the season to pop out – won’t be the last if this year is anything like last year.
No secrets of the universe here, nothing profound. Just a tiny bit of a reminder that beautiful things exist in the world and we need to pay attention to them every now and then, even if it’s just for a minute while spending the day battling the Forces of Evil.
Flowers and birds, all from our yard. It’s spring. Again. And we’re still spending 99.99% of our time in quarantine at home. Again. (The other 0.01% of the time is when I go out to get groceries or pick up the CAF mail at the hangar every other week.)
These are popping up next to the mailbox – some are heartier than others, fighting for space with some sort of decorative desert drought-resistant plant.
The bees seem to love them. I can see why.
“Purple leaf flowering plum” according to the wisdom of Google image search. These tiny little pink and purple flowers are starting to pop in the last couple of days.
I think we did this same Google search to ID this tree/bush last year. Or the year before. Or both.
Which makes me realize that we’re coming up on the end of our third year in this house?
It’s the oddest little obvious facts that jump up and bite your ass and make you wonder WTF is going on… As if “reality” isn’t slippery enough these days.
A week ago these were gorgeous, stunning. Now…
…it seems to me that they’re still stunningly gorgeous.
Beauty and worth are not binary, yes or no, on or off.
The colors might have faded, the blooms wilted… But think of the invisible judgement inherent in those words. “Faded.” “Wilted.”
They’re still colorful, elegantly textured, incredibly complex natural constructs.
They’re just in transit to a different phase of their existence. It might no longer pigeonhole conveniently into our arbitrary definition of beauty – but they are still beautiful.
How many other things in the world around us are in the same position?
A few weeks ago I posted pictures of the hibiscus flowers that I had taken while putting up Christmas lights. Now that the lights were taken down, I note that the flowers did what all flowers did. And, I guess, all Christmas light displays as well.
The focus and depth of field is just a bit odd on a couple of these photos.
I like it though – let’s call it “different” or “unconventional” instead of “wrong” or “bad.”
I think that’s a lot of us today – exhausted, drooping, trying to hold on, a little bit off, fading, just trying to get by another day. That’s not wrong or bad – it’s just different. As so many have pointed out, and I’ll echo, be kind to yourself these days. There’s a lot of bad shit and it seems to be getting deeper fast – it’s okay if the best you can do is just the best you can do. And remember that everyone else’s Hell is 100% – cut everyone some slack.
Except for fascists and Nazis. (You know who I’m talking about.) Fuck them.
At least, I think it’s a hibiscus.
In the summer it’s covered in these bright red flowers.
Now, it has a few.
But it’s a GREAT plant on the side of the house to hang Christmas lights on!
Lots of good surface area with lots of branches capable of bearing the weight of a string of lights. PERFECT!!
One thing the “smart” camera on the iPhone is good for is High Dynamic Range photos, where there’s a broad range of light and darks in the image.
This is how the eye works, and the iPhone does a better job than most other phone cameras, and sometimes better than a DSLR, especially an older one like I have.
An extra ten years of better software and smarts in the iPhone can beat the crap out of a 2005 state of the art chip in a Canon Rebel XT. Big surprise, but it actually is a surprise sometimes I guess.
These are taken with my iPhone 8+ which is now three years old. It’s still a great phone and mini-supercomputer and camera – but if I really, REALLY was going to be taking photos with the phone and being SERIOUS about it rather than just having it with me and using as the best camera I have in my pocket 24/7/365, then I would be looking at the iPhone 12 Pro Plus coming out next month.
I’m not. This is just fine. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Especially at $1,400 or so.
Enjoy the really, REALLY purple flowers!
It was a bit hazy and smoky, after sunset, so it was starting to get dark. That’s why the flowers were out.
I had the camera with the big lens, which was part of the problem. Basic optics say that with a wide open lens you get a much smaller depth of field, and the telephoto lens is worse than the “normal” lens. With the dim light, the big lens wide open, and being fairly close to begin with, it was a hat trick for getting a very shallow depth of field.
So I can focus on the big petals on the far side, but the near petals, which are only maybe three inches closer, are out of focus. Or I could do it the other way around. But I can’t do both.
To get better pictures, use the smaller lens. To get a bigger depth of field shoot it stopped down and take a longer exposure. To keep from blurring, use a tripod. To make it all work better, try to get it with more light, or maybe use the flash.
To play with all of those variables and get some practice taking better pictures, find an extra couple of hours a day that I don’t expect to have until about six months after I’m dead.
I knew there was a catch…
We’re into our third year in this house (time flies…) but I don’t remember this Mexican Bush Sage ever blooming quite this overwhelmingly before.
Maybe it’s been encouraged by all of the stinking hot weather?
Maybe the gardeners have fertilized it this year?
Maybe it was that “golden hour” light as the sun set? (This is where my money lies!)
The bees have found it in the past, but apparently not tonight.
Whatever’s going on, it was worth a trip back into the house for the good camera.
No aroma that I can smell, not like the roses (search the site, there are a gazillion of them) on the other side of the driveway.
Whatever’s happening, it’s worth a trip down to the mailbox when the sun starts to set! (Wear a mask!)