Faux leaves, real shadows

I do love leaves, and shadows. So naturally I love shadows *of* leaves. Even if they aren’t real leaves.

These metal leaves are a decoration I recently got at a thrift store. (My daughter and I have discovered a mutual enthusiasm for going to thrift stores. Possibly too much enthusiasm.) Anyhow, the leaves cast some fun shadows in the low afternoon light. I enjoyed seeing how they changed (sharp above, doubled below) with the changing light.

It seems I’m still inclined to post daily. I think I need to settle on an approximate frequency for posting. For those of you who post regularly, what’s your strategy? Do you have goals for quantity or frequency of posts, or do you just post when moved to do so?

changing shadows, unchanged leaf

unicorn

A little over a week ago, a single leaf caught my eye out on the deck. It was caught between the boards, and casting a long dramatic shadow in the morning light.

Yesterday, a similar-looking leaf caught my eye casting a shadow, this time in the afternoon light. Looking at the two photos, I’ve decided that it was actually the same leaf. It’s moved a bit, and flipped around, but it appears to have all the same markings. It seems to have blown out of the spot where it was trapped, only to get caught again.

leaf-shadow2-afternoon

It seems I’m not quite ready to leave November behind. Both the leaves, and the daily posting. I’m hoping to settle into some sort of moderate frequency for posting, perhaps something like once or twice a week. Somehow, though, if I’m not all in, I tend to be all out. Here’s hoping I can break that trend.

if a blogger falls in the forest

forest
Trees that fell in the forest, many years ago. It is not clear whether they made a sound. Now they make for a pretty scene.

Amazingly, after last year’s November goals shortfall, I was able to get back up again and post daily this month. This is my 30th daily post in November, and so successfully wraps up my NaBloPoMo goals. Somehow, it wasn’t even particularly hard this time. Was it as easy as falling off a log? It was certainly less painful than falling off a log.

I’ve enjoyed regrouping (grouping again) and reflecting (flecting again?) and putting together photos and thoughts. I might even be able to keep on keeping on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

taking the cake

Today is this blog’s birthday, but I didn’t bake it a cake. I took this cake (photo) from a birthday earlier this year.

cake-crop

I’m rather sad that I’ve been neglecting this blog, and blogging in general, including visiting other blogs and interacting with other bloggers. I know a few of my friends are still actively blogging, which makes me happy. And maybe I’ll get back to it again myself. This space was a great creative outlet. Clearly I’m not ready to pull the plug on it entirely.

So, happy birthday to a blog that’s only been mostly dead. (Which is still partly alive.)

Well, that didn’t last long

Remember how on Thursday I grandly announced my intention to blog every day this month? Somehow, my intentions dropped away like so many fall leaves blown away in a wind storm. Sort of like what happened with this Japanese maple tree, seen here on Thursday (red and leafy) and yesterday (bare and largely leafless). I don’t know what sort of intentions this tree had about showing off for the month of November, but I’ll have to say it fell a bit short.

As for me, I guess I’ll just have to pick up from where I left off. (Where I did leave off? Or leaf off?) So, off with the leaving off and dropping out, and in with the sticking things out. And we’ll try again. Even though the tree has to wait until spring to sprout a new crop of leaves, I can see what sort of ideas I can rake up. (But apparently all my ideas tonight have to do with leaves.)

leaf-corkscrew-curl

This blog goes up to 11

Eleven years ago today, I put up my first post on this blog. Here we are over a thousand posts later, and I am still more-or-less here.

analog-clock-1111 It appears that I am quite partial to the number 11. Not the least because I regularly post at the eleventh hour. (It might not surprise you that it is now after 11 as I write this post.)

elevenThe number 11 has featured prominently in quite a few posts over the years, in particular on 11/11. In anticipation of the exciting (at least to me) date of 11/11/11, I encouraged others to post things that go up to 11. I’ve posted about the word for the number 11 in Spanish.  I’ve posted lists of elevens. I’ve posted photos of elevens (or at least photos of patterns that look to me like 11s). And I posted a ThThTh list of 11 things, which, given that I posted it in 2007, did not include one now very well known Eleven.

digital-clock-1111

This is all really just a very roundabout way to say happy birthday to my blog. Thanks to any and all of you who have dropped in over the years.

eleven-candles

 

planning the day

“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
― E.B. White

I stumbled across this quote a few years ago during a visit to my mother. It was posted somewhere in her community art room, and I read it in passing. But the words followed me out, and prompted me to both look them up again, and revisit them regularly in my thoughts. E.B. White’s words nicely encapsulate so much of my inner conflict. For example, my struggles with figuring out what to post here, and on a larger scale, what to do with my life.

I find great joy in the little details in the world around me. I can get lost in the sparkle of ice on a branch or a fence, or the unexpected grace of shadows on a stairway. I often attempt to capture the beauty in photos, with varying degrees of success. I am a collector of images, and it pleases me to sort and categorize them, and share them here. A group of leaves here, an assortment of doors there, a selection of silhouettes yonder. Hell, I’ve even posted photos of storm drains and the peeling paint on dumpsters. I find beauty and comfort in seeing patterns, and putting them together.

Beyond that, the world offers a multitude of sources of enjoyment for me. I love food, I love to make things with my hands. I love art. I love music. I love reading and watching movies. I love humor and playing with words. I love the structure and richness of the world’s languages. I love doing scientific research, and finding the beauty in patterns. And I really, really love to travel. I love to spend time with my family and friends, and I love to spend time by myself doing things that I love, or thinking about doing things that I love. There is enough passion in me for so much beauty, so much wonder for the world’s amazing variety and order, that I could fill a hundred blogs (and I mean blogs, not just posts) if only I had the time to do so.

On the other hand, there is so much ugliness in the world that I can’t ignore. News reports of police shootings. Stories of the plight of refugees. Data reflecting the threats to our planet’s equilibrium through climate change. Systemic racism and misogyny and homophobia and xenophobia and so many other biases. Horrific acts perpetrated by governments and individual acting on their behalf, in blindness to the systemic biases in the system and the damage they inflict. Horrific acts being perpetrated by individuals, often growing out of the collective illness of our society. There is so much societal injustice that needs to be addressed, and I regularly feel the call to address it. How can I sit back and write silly posts about pants when there are people literally dying in the street? What good are my sets of colorful leaf photos to a world in which hundreds of thousands of displaced people want nothing more right now than food, shelter and safety for their families? If I’m going to be writing or posting, shouldn’t I be putting my energy into addressing the injustices of the world?

Further, frankly, writing about difficult topics is…difficult. While I have ventured into social justice topics in my writing, such forays take a lot out of me. I want to be able back my claims with data and sources. Moreover, I want to choose my words with care, lest I inadvertently do harm to the very cause which I am hoping to contribute to. I worry about provoking backlash, both from those who disagree with me, and from those who largely agree with me but find fault with my words or understanding. I am flawed and learning and growing, and I am prone to mistakes.

It has been this tension within me, the pull to share posts reflecting my enjoyment of the world against the pull to lend my voice to improving the world, that largely kept me from posting or doing anything creative at all for many months. I wanted to post light things, felt like I should post heavy things, and in the end generally posted nothing.

I have come around the realization that I really want to do both things, and that I can do both. They may not be equal in measure, but I am giving myself permission to express myself creatively and also, at least occasionally, write about topics that I consider deeply important. I can feed both of the desires, and both can help me to grow, and grow stronger.
This essay is my first entry in #52essays2017, a project to write and post an essay each week this year. To read more about the project, visit Vanessa Martir’s Blog.