Tag Archives: nature

The Pollenmobile: Spring’s Practical Joke on Us

You can tell it’s spring here in the South when my normally-blue car gets a nice yellow-green coating on it. (Living in the midst of trees and blooming flowers as we do, it’s par for the course.)

It usually does no good to rinse your car off in these blooming spring days, either–a few hours to a day later, the yellow sheen is back. I have even taken to calling my car the “Pollenmobile” recently, since the bees seem to like my car even more than the flowers. (Case in point: at a long stoplight in town the other day, a few wasps and bees visited my side mirrors and the hood of my car…they had a grand old time crawling around in the yellow dust.)

But as yellow-green as my car has looked recently, it doesn’t even hold a candle to these lovely depictions I’ve found all over the Internet. Take a look at some of these pollenmobiles, and feel better about your own car this spring!




Yarns, Etc.

Environmental Graffiti

Environmental Graffiti



Have you ever been outside and been surprised by the beauty of light and shadow playing on an object? Or ever been amazed at the perfection of a flower blossom? Has anything, natural or man-made, ever looked so suddenly awesome that you just HAD to stop and take a picture of it with whatever camera was to hand?

If you have, you’ve been picturestruck. I get that way all the time, even though I’m not a particularly visual person usually. Sometimes I’ll see the sky in the daytime, for instance, and be awed by sunlight streaming down between cotton-candy threads of cloud; other times, the quiet loveliness of a full moon casting silver shimmers along the wide river close to my house will render me silent.

Taking care of the urge to capture the image before you is fairly easy if you have a cameraphone or small digital camera with you. It’s as simple as taking the device out of your pocket/purse, lining up the shot, and clicking the button. But if you’re picturestruck while driving, as I am so often, it can be difficult to balance your need to stay on the road with the desire to get an awesome picture right now!

I’ve been known to pull over to the side of the road long enough to fish for my phone and take the picture through my windshield, if I can’t stop long enough to get out of the car (or if it’s not safe to try to get out). But usually, I like to completely stop the car, get out, and take the picture without having to rush. Convenient parking lots are good places to stop for impromptu pictures, even if it does make me look like a tourist in my own town. LOL

Even if it might sound a little weird to practice this kind of art, I do enjoy it, and I end up with some beautiful images that I’ve even used in my web designs. Random spots of beauty in our world are always worth capturing for posterity if we can manage it, I believe.

Have you ever been picturestruck? Ever get any randomly awesome pictures? Tell me in the comments!

Dusk…My Favorite Time of Day

Beautiful, evocative dusky road; picture found at Alan Yahnke’s Flickr.

I have always loved dusk more than dawn, ever since childhood. Dusk is a time of trees turning deeper green and casting lengthening shadows, of harsh sunlight fading into lovely colors, arcing deep into the west. It also is a time of winding down for the day, a time when it seems like you can be outside without being attacked by zillions of bugs, and you can rest without being swarmed by your to-do list. Not only that, it’s cooler (especially during the summer).

Forest dusk Wallpaper__yvt2
Look at this beautiful dusk light effect! Ahh… picture found at ScenicReflections.com

I love driving at dusk, walking at dusk, or even looking out the window at it. The transient time of late afternoon passing into early evening brings out some of the most beautiful and ephemeral colors in the landscape, and it seems to put away the endless noise of morning and midday, bringing with it a sudden stillness with light cricket accompaniment.

Deep blue-green forest; picture found at Flash-Screen.com

Dusk, in contrast to dawn, is the end of stress and rushing around, and the beginning of “me time.” I’m usually done with all my work for the day and can now devote a little time to writing, watching some TV or a movie, talking to my boyfriend, family, or friends, or even just thinking quietly. Lying in bed, feeling the heaviness of my own limbs pressing into the soft surface, breathing deeply for the first time all day…it’s a languor that dawn does not allow, and dusk revels in.

Dusk also seems to bring out the relaxed conversation I love most. When I’m out at dusk with lots of people (or even just a few people), our words seem to turn to the philosophical and the meditative, the peaceful and the glad. Talk to anybody in the morning (just after dawn, usually), and you’ll likely get a string of complaints, worries, pains, and problems–well, either that or they’re entirely too darned happy ’cause they’re morning birds, LOL! But talk to anybody in the evening, and you’ll likely get a little slower and gentler conversation, maybe dotted with a bit of griping about the day…which eases off as dusk transitions the world toward sleep, as if the time of day itself helps wipe away the day’s concerns.

I guess you could say I’m a night owl because I love evenings more than mornings, but I think it’s probably more relaxing for me to know that relaxation, togetherness, and sleep is ahead rather than a rushed meal, gridlock, and expectations. Dusk is an escape from all that, an escape without anything else necessary to enhance it.

Sheltering Branches


I love the thick green of forest leaves in late spring and summer. Somehow, it feels as though the very air is thicker with life than it is in the barren, cold winter; birds hop along branches, and squirrels scurry up tree trunks to hide in the foliage. The delicate beauty of each thin leaf combines with its brethren to make a soft silhouette of shade on the grass, promising rest and relaxation.

Maybe it’s my inner hippie coming out, but forests have always felt sheltering to me. It surprised me to learn, while I was studying for my English major in college, that in literature, forests have often been used as the sites for sorcery and evil being afoot, such as in Young Goodman Brown. I guess it’s because my house is planted square in the middle of a large forest that I’ve always viewed forests as places of rest and safety. The screen of leaves, tree branches, and trunks fully obscures my home from the road, generally keeping us safe from robbers and trespassers. Sinuous branches arching over parts of the driveway and house may present a slight danger during ice storms, but for much of the year, they provide welcome respite for all sorts of little animals (and tired humans returning from shopping trips!).

I’m the kind of person who will drive down the road, sight a particularly beautifully-shaped tree, and stop and take a picture of it; I’ll do the same for lovely vistas of foliage allowing just hints of sunlight to pierce through to the ground. What I love most is that trees and forests aren’t just beautiful, but useful–when I’m taking refuge from the sun under a pretty tree, it feels sometimes like I’m being watched over and protected. Other people seem to think the same thing, albeit unconsciously; when looking for a parking spot in the summer, the spots with trees shading them are usually taken first!

Even though trees might besmirch our cars with their sap, overly shade our front lawns, or even threaten our houses when they die and begin to lean, I still think they provide a restful counterpoint to human life. You can’t just stop and watch a tree grow, and yet they are in constant cycles of growth, as their rings tell us. They are perpetually still and yet vibrantly alive in the same moment, like a person in meditation. We spend our days rushing around for sustenance and shelter and comfort; they derive their sustenance and comfort from the ground underneath, and provide us with a little of the same.

Photos belong to: IPadWalls.com & The.Rain.Man’s photostream.