Garden, July 4

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This week’s photo challenge asks us to capture an image that shows something that hijacks your attention like an object that drives a child to proclaim, “Ooh, Shiny!

I have a few things that distract me in a delightful way. Spotting someone who has retained a hairstyle from a bygone era is one of those things. I’m not talking about an intentional retro makeover here. I mean someone who is old enough to have sported that hair style when it was current. I’ve seen a woman about town who has a perfectly permed and feathered mullet from 1984. How did she find a stylist who will keep up such an outdated style? What spectacular thing happened 33 years ago that she has made her hair a shrine to it? By the way, only her hair is stuck in the past. Her clothing and accessories definitely belong to the current era.

While I find time travel hairdos fascinating, I have not had the opportunity this week to take such a picture. I also feel uncomfortable with street photography that makes fun of the folks portrayed. It would a tough task indeed for me to photograph Mrs. 1984 Mullet in a way that doesn’t insist, “Look at this ridiculous hairdo.”

Because of this concern about exploitation, I offer another sort of scene that rivets my attention. I love seeing morning light through flowers, trees, and many other sorts of flora. Every time I drive to work and see sun beams filtering through gardens, I wish I could stop and take a few pictures.

This morning I took a picture of the morning sun illuminating one of my sunflower plants. I stopped everything that I was doing, grabbed my camera, and headed toward the garden when I spotted the sunflowers through my kitchen window this morning. Full sunshine has been elusive this week. We are stuck in a pattern of cloudy, hot days. I hope it rains today and that these showers steer us toward clearer skies.


Coda to Saturday’s Photo Walk


The should-haves of living drift ever deeper. The more time I’ve devoted to nature photography, the greater my regret that I once dropped out of a college class on tree and shrub identification. If I had fully endured this class, I wouldn’t have taken three days to identify the flowering tree I spotted on Saturday. It is a pink horse chestnut.

Back then, the crystal-meth grade energy of my 72-year-old biology professor exhausted me. The thought of him waking daily at 4 am to inventory the velutinous or toothed leaves within 100 paces of his home intimated that my life was one of utter dissipation in comparison. To achieve his level of dedication to anything and then sustain it for 52 additional years was a possibility I could not countenance.

While I wish I hadn’t taken his example as an indictment of my opposite inertia (I was to stay at rest for quite some time after that), I do relish the process of finding out the names of various flowers and trees I’ve photographed. Maybe the reason I withdrew was far more simple. Revelation bit by bit suits me best.

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